Telluride Jazz: Jon Cleary Featured At Celebration

No sure who is line ahead of him, but according to musical icon Bonnie Raitt, Jon Cleary is next in line.

“He’s the 9th wonder of the world,” said long-time (since 1999) professional colleague Bonnie Raitt.

Jon Cleary and The Absolute Monster Gentlemen

Jon Cleary and The Absolute Monster Gentlemen

Jon Cleary & The Absolute Monster Gentlemen perform at the upcoming Telluride Jazz Festival, August 1 – August 3. Their set is scheduled for Sunday, August 3, 5:20 – 6:30 p.m. Cleary is also featured in “Jazz After Dark,” appearing at the Sheridan Opera House Saturday night, starting at 10 p.m. (Tickets here.)

The legendary Jon Cleary is a triple threat, combining as he does so well soulful vocals, masterful piano skills, and a knack for composing infectious grooves with melodic hooks and sharp lyrics. Cleary is now on tour out West, including a much anticipated encore performance at Telluride Jazz, following his gonzo 2012 performance with the Philthy Phew.

Cleary is a “musician’s musician,” having first picked up a guitar at age five. For years, he played as the preferred sideman for luminaries such as jazz virtuoso John Scofield and Blues giants Taj Mahal and B.B King. As mentioned, Cleary has also been the leading light of Bonnie Raitt’s band for close to 15 years.

Jon Cleary, by Jesse Hiatt

Jon Cleary, by Jesse Hiatt

Cleary cut his musical chops as a teenager playing with the older generation of New Orleans R&B artists who invented the sound that later came to be known as rock ’n roll. Born in London, Cleary moved to the Crescent City at age 17 after leaving school. There he learned the secrets of New Orleans piano direct from the masters, Dr John, Allen Toussaint and James Booker.

Cleary’s live show highlights the dazzling skills of his sidemen, drummer Jellybean, guitarist Derwin “Big D” Perkins, and bassist Cornell Williams. While rooted in the respected traditions of syncopation and harmony of his hometown, Cleary’s performances reach out further with his own material and unique contemporary sound.The man is widely considered to be the torchbearer of the genuine New Orleans funk tradition.

Cleary has produced five recordings to date including Occapella, a set of Allen Toussaint’s tunes – both famous and obscure – that combines the jazz concept record with a creative, funky attitude. His sixth recording is coming out soon.

Piano chops, accolades and impeccable credentials are just a backdrop for most essential thing, what is most essential to festival-goers: Cleary’s music is fun.

“Real music, played real good!’,” is how Jon describes his sets.

Don’t miss this rare opportunity to hear the master at work.

To learn more, click the “play” button and listen to what Jon Cleary has to say.

Comments are closed.