Jon Cleary

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Following up on his critically acclaimed, Grammy-winning album GoGo Juice, JON CLEARY triumphantly returns with the infectiously ebullient Dyna-Mite (FHQ Records).  Sly, slinky, and deeply soulful, the aptly entitled new release finds this Big Easy funk savant  – a virtuosic keyboardist, profoundly expressive vocalist, and quite distinctive songwriter  – in peak form on a set of all-original material.  Like GoGo Juice, Dyna-Mite was co-produced by Cleary and the prolific John Porter, whose eclectic, behind-the-board credits include albums by Ryan Adams, Billy Bragg, Elvis Costello, B.B. King, Buddy Guy, R.L. Burnside, Taj Mahal, and the late Hammond B-3 master Jimmy Smith. Dyna-Mite was recorded in several studios around New Orleans, including Cleary’s in-home facility, with accompaniment by a host of the Crescent City’s A-list musicians. These ace co-conspirators include the Lettuce Horns, guitarists Leo Nocentelli (formerly of The Meters) and Shane Theriot, the rhythm sections of drummers Jamison Ross and A.J. Hall, bassists Calvin Turner and Cornell Williams, and the multi-instrumentalist and songwriting partner-in-crime Nigel Hall, among many others.  “There’s such a great pool of talent in New Orleans,” Cleary comments. “And it’s a real pleasure to work with such a wide variety of the local characters.  I’ve been so lucky to have played with so many great New Orleans rhythm sections over the years.  And I love recording with Nigel; he’s an inspiring creative accomplice.”     
Dyna-Mite flows seamlessly, from straight-up New Orleans grooves à la Professor Longhair  –  such as the raucous, streetwise title track  –  to shades of classic ’70s soul reminiscent of Bobby Womack, as heard on the lush, plaintive “21st Century Gypsy Singing Lover Man,” which Cleary co-wrote with Taj Mahal.  “That song is about a musician’s life on the road – we wandering minstrels represent the world’s second-oldest profession,” Clearly wryly notes.  “Skin In The Game” explores a similarly reflective mode, utilizing a deep-pocket 1-6-2-5 chord progression.  “Hit, Git, Quit, Split,” by contrast, is a joyous interlude of classic New Orleans wordplay and double-talk, as exemplified by such gems of skewed Crescent City logic as “Take your time, we ain’t got all night!”   (“We were having so much fun with that song in the studio,” Cleary recalls, “that it went on for about 20 minutes, so we had to trim it a bit to fit here on the finished album.”)  “Big Greasy” incorporates a New Orleans sensibility with the related Afro-Caribbean sounds of Jamaica  –  “a hybrid,” Cleary explains, “of putting Crescent City funk and reggae through a blender.”   Cleary originally wrote “Frenchmen Street Blues” to be played at a friend’s funeral, and it was recorded again for use in the popular HBO television drama Treme.  In reprising it here on Dyna-Mite, Cleary utilized an approach to songwriting in which compositions may be worked and reworked for years.  “I have bits and pieces of songs on cassettes, hard drives, and scraps of paper.  I love to keep tinkering with them, sometimes for years, until eventually I feel that they are finished and ready to record.” Dyna-Mite closes out, appropriately, with “All Good Things.”


Official Website
Label | FHQ Entertainment
+1 212-280-0800
Discography | Jon Cleary on

Jon Cleary to help British Airways pick musicians for Mardi Gras flight
— January 11, 2017, WGNO New Orleans
"The airline, which announced non-stop service to New Orleans in October, is looking for “three undiscovered jazz musicians from around the world” to “busk” during the Mardi Gras flight. The buskers must be able to fly from London to New Orleans for Mardi Gras."

STUDIO SESSIONS: Jon Cleary Live On World Cafe - NPR Music, September 27, 2016
"If you've seen Bonnie Raitt live, chances are you saw Jon Cleary at the piano. Cleary's New Orleans-style playing has been a part of Raitt's show for years, and he continues to be a beloved fixture of the Crescent City. The Englishman is also an in-demand session musician who's recorded with Eric Clapton, B.B. King, Taj Mahal and others."
Jon Cleary: The Best Of New Orleans Interview - Gambit, April 26, 2016 
The Big Easy Awards’ Entertainer of the Year and Grammy Award winner talks New Orleans music

Jon Cleary on finding the funkiest music he could - PBS NewsHour, April 23rd, 2015
New Orleans is the birthplace of American jazz, and one fixture in the city’s music scene is piano player and singer Jon Cleary. Cleary, who recently won a Grammy award, is one of the headliners playing New Orleans Jazz Fest this week. 

Jon Cleary Wins First Grammy Award - OffBeat Magazine, February 15, 2015
Jon Cleary, Buddy Guy win at Grammys -, February 15, 2015

Jazz Fest announces Jon Cleary as guest of honor - Telluride News, January 19, 2015
The Sounds of New Orleans Come Alive in Jon Cleary - WNYC The Takeaway, August 13, 2015
Jon Cleary: Go Go Juice - American Songwriter, August 12, 2015
New Music Spotlight: Jon Cleary - New Orleans WWOZ 90.7FM, August 11, 2015
Jon Cleary Pumps Things Up - Pollstar, August 7, 2015
Jon Cleary, Go Go Juice (Thirty Tigers) - OffBeat Magazine, August 26, 2015

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