Jon Cleary
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Omaha Performing Arts Jon Cleary with Occasional Brothers Midtown Crossing Jazz On The Green

Cleary’s work pays obvious homage to the classic Crescent City keyboard repertoire created by such icons as Jelly Roll Morton, Fats Domino, Professor Longhair, Art Neville, Dr. John, and James Booker – while also using it as a launching pad for a style that incorporates such other diverse influences as 70s soul and R&B, gospel music, funk, Afro-Caribbean and Afro-Cuban rhythms, and much more.  MORE INFORMATION

Cleary’s work pays obvious homage to the classic Crescent City keyboard repertoire created by such icons as Jelly Roll Morton, Fats Domino, Professor Longhair, Art Neville, Dr. John, and James Booker – while also using it as a launching pad for a style that incorporates such other diverse influences as’70s soul and R&B, gospel music, funk, Afro-Caribbean and Afro-Cuban rhythms, and much more.

Jon Cleary’s love and affinity for New Orleans music goes back to the rural British village of Cranbrook, Kent, where he was raised in a musical family. As a teen Cleary grew increasingly interested in funk-infused music. In 1981 he flew to New Orleans for an initial pilgrimage and took a cab straight from the airport to the Maple Leaf Bar, a storied venue which then featured such great blues-rooted eclectic pianists as Roosevelt Sykes and James Booker. Cleary first worked at the Maple Leaf as a painter, but soon graduated to playing piano there — even though his first instrument was the guitar, which he still plays and has recently reintroduced into his live performances. As word of Cleary’s burgeoning talent began to spread around town, he was hired by such New Orleans R&B legends as Snooks Eaglin, Earl “Trick Bag” King, Johnny Adams, and Jessie “Ooh Poo Pah Doo” Hill, while also gaining the respect of the great Crescent City pianists Dr. John and the late Allen Toussaint. Years later, in2012, Cleary recorded a critically acclaimed album of all-Toussaint songs entitled Occapella.  

His ever-elevating profile led to global touring work in the bands of Taj Mahal, John Scofield, Dr. John, and Bonnie Raitt.  Cleary has led his own group, the Absolute Monster Gentlemen, for over two decades now, but he still collaborates frequently with these old friends.   LESS INFORMATION


Thank you sponsors Midtown Crossing, Mutual of Omaha, Beardmore Subaru, Valmont, Curzon, KETV, KIOS, Omaha World-Herald

 

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