Telluride Jazz 2016: Cleary is Guest of Honor

Telluride Jazz 2016: Cleary is Guest of Honor

Ed. Note: The 40th Telluride Jazz Festival Names Jon Cleary as Guest of Honor for 2016. New Orleans Legend to Perform with Absolute Monster Gentlemen and Special Guest. Passes/tickets here. Please scroll down to the bottom of the story to listen to my podcast with Cleary.

jon cleary

The 40th Telluride Jazz Festival welcomes New Orleans pianist and singer Jon Cleary as the Guest of Honor for the annual music festival held August 5-7, 2016 in Telluride, Colorado.

Emphasizing the scope and importance of the Telluride Jazz Festival’s annual ode to the Big Easy, including a designated New Orleans Day celebration on Sunday, August 7th, Jon Cleary will appear multiple times throughout the weekend for performances and special events. Scheduled performances include a Jazz After Dark late night set at the historic Sheridan Opera House on Friday, August 5th, a Main Stage set on Saturday, August 7th, and an additional set with a very special guest on the closing day of the festival for New Orleans Day.

The New Orleans transplant by way of Kent, England has spent over two decades studying and amalgamating to the culture and lifestyle of New Orleans. In that time, Cleary has also become recognized as one of the city’s most accomplished songwriters, multi-instrumentalist, and vocalists. In addition to contributing to albums for Taj Mahal, Bonnie Raitt and John Scofield and performing with B.B. King and Ryan Adams, Cleary has released three critically acclaimed solo albums. The most recent offering Go Go Juice was produced by Grammy winner John Porter and ranked #1 in OffBeat Magazine‘s Best Albums of 2015.

Cleary will be joined by his current working band the Absolute Monster Gentlemen.

Included on the lineup of stellar accompanying musicians are the esteemed guitarist Derwin “Big D” Perkins, bassist Cornell C. Williams, and the drummer simply known as Jellybean.

In addition to solo projects and working with acclaimed artists, Cleary also has two studio albums with the Absolute Monster Gentlemen. Rolling Stone‘s David Fricke described Pin Your Spin this way:

“Cleary can be an absolute monster on his own, but Cleary’s full combo R&B is as broad, deep and roiling as the Mississippi River, the combined swinging product of local keyboard tradition, Cleary’s vocal-songwriting flair for moody Seventies soul and the spunky-meters roll of his Gentlemen.”

Jon Cleary, credit, Jesse Hiatt.

Jon Cleary, credit, Jesse Hiatt.

Jon Cleary joins an impressive list of previous Guests of Honor for the Telluride Jazz: Roy Hargrove, John Scofield, Ernie Watts, Bill Frisell, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Paquito D’ Rivera, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Poncho Sanchez, Ron Carter, Herbie Mann, James Moody, and many other jazz greats.

Early Bird tickets for the 40th Telluride Jazz Festival are now available. 3-Day Park Passes ($125), Weekend All-Access Passes ($175), Patron Passes ($675), Patron Cabanas ($2,000) Camping Per Person Passes ($69), Vehicle In Campground Passes ($79), and RV Passes ($99) will all be available Monday, January 11th, 2016 at

Additional artists, single day tickets, Jazz After Dark performers, and additional festival details to be announced very soon.

Below is Susan Viebrock’s interview with Jon Cleary from his 2014 appearance at Telluride Jazz.

About the Telluride Jazz Festival:

The Telluride Jazz Festival is a three day and night live music event centered around jazz that is held on the first weekend of August every year. An intimate format, enabled by limited ticket sales, offers a unique chance to experience the openness and beauty of the legendary Telluride Town Park music venue, accompanied by a once in a lifetime soundtrack provided by acclaimed artists, GrammyAward winners, cutting-edge innovators, rare supergroups, and some of the best student bands in the country. The core audience of loyal patrons, dedicated locals, and curious travelers creates a relaxed vibe: laying back in your chair or letting your hair down to dance are equally encouraged. Great food vendors and microbrews on tap cover the basic amenities, while additional free wine and spirit tastings from local vineyards and distilleries provide a sample of Colorado’s renowned craftsmanship.

At night the music moves from Telluride Town Park into historic indoor music venues within easy walking distance. There special Jazz After Dark late-night performances often present memorable collaborations and up-close viewing of the artists in their element. On Sunday, homage is paid to the overt influence of the Big Easy via a New Orleans Day party that kicks off with a second line brass band parade down Main Street. Colorful floats, costumes, beads and decorations are all welcome as patrons join in on the march through town. Once inside the festival grounds, themed cuisine and beverages from local restauranteurs liven up the celebration as some of the best musicians from New Orleans give Telluride Jazz Festival attendees a taste of their town.

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