Known best as one of the greatest New Orleans blues pianists of his generation, the incomparable Jon Cleary will be making all of Brisbane’s blues aficionados dreams come true when he graces the stage of The Brisbane Powerhouse with his incredible band The Absolute Monster Gentlemen.
An accomplished multi-instrumentalist and recordist Jon Cleary is one of music’s great anomalies. A Kent raised Englishman turned certified New Orleans music legend after gracefully inhabiting the Crescent City and everything it has to offer over the course of 30 plus years. A Grammy award winning, global touring and studio force, who has graced stages, shared rooms and gained the respect of everyone from Allen Toussaint to Tom Jones, Jon Cleary quite simply embodies the sound of New Orleans.
Growing up in a very musical family, jazz, RnB and the music of New Orleans all played a big part of the soundtrack to his growing up. “My uncle moved to New Orleans when I was a kid and came back with all these incredible stories and amazing, exotic records, which really bent my ear to the piano,” he said.
Barely out of high school Jon caught a flight to go visit the Crescent City. But the gods of blues would, it appears, seem to have a specific course planned for the Englishman. “It was just by coincidence that the house I moved into had an old bar with a piano in it, which was the neighbourhood bar. There was a guy that played there on Tuesdays and he was the best player in New Orleans. One night he couldn’t make it and that’s how I got my first gig.”
In no time Jon started playing with the legendary 1950s RnB players and singers he’d heard on his uncle’s obscure records, like Earle King’s Band and Dr John. “It was a thrill, being a sideman and learning from playing live on stage with them,” he said.
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