Get this crazy baby off my head!


Jon Cleary

Jon Cleary - Jon Cleary and the Absolute Monster Gentlemen - 2002 - Basin Street Records

Jon Cleary, the New Orleans-based multi-instrumentalist and singer, cooks up a batch of funky music on his first Basin Street release. Backed by a small core band and a smattering of guests (including Bonnie Raitt on slide guitar), Cleary delivers hard-hitting urban blues and soul that can bring to mind Tower of Power, Bill Withers, and even a little Steely Dan. His singing can be a bit generic, but his organ and Wurlitzer flourishes are quite tasty, as is the dead-on rhythm guitar of Derwin "Big D" Perkins and the bass-and-drum lock-up of Cornell Williams and Jeffrey "Jellybean" Alexander. © David R. Adler, allmusic.com

Great urban jazz/soul/funk/R&B grooves from Jon Cleary, the English pianist, guitarist, and songwriter. The top notch back up musicians on the album include guest, Bonnie Raitt on vocals and slide guitar. If you like Jamiroquai, and Stevie Wonder, you will enjoy this great, cool, laid back album. ["...An album that grooves infectiously with the unbridled energy of a late-night jam session. Simply put, this album is a delight from start to finish..." - JazzTimes (9/02, p.90) ]. Buy Jon's "Pin Your Spin" album, which is even funkier than JCATAMG. [All tracks @ 320 Kbps: File size = 109 Mb]


1 Sometimes I Wonder 4:07
2 Cheating on You 3:07
3 More Hipper 5:27
4 Just Kissed My Baby 8:04
5 When You Get Back 4:13
6 Take My Love 4:10
7 A Little Satisfaction 2:53
8 Been and Gone 2:40
9 So Damn Good 3:19
10 Fanning the Flames 5:18
11 Too Damn Hot 5:11

All songs composed by Jon Cleary, except "Just Kissed My Baby" by Ziggy Modeliste/Art Neville/Leo Nocentelli/George Porter, Jr., & "Take My Love" by Mertis, John Jr.


Jon Cleary Dobro, Guitar, Mandolin, Piano, Organ (Hammond), Fretless Bass, Wurlitzer, Wah Wah Clavinet
Derwin "Big D" Perkins Guitar, Vocals
Bonnie Raitt slide guitar & vocals #4, background vocals #8
Cornell Williams Bass, Vocals
Jeffery Alexander Drums
Lenny Castro Percussion
Craig Klein trombone & tuba #8
Tuba Fats - tuba #10
Robert Harrison trombone #10
Duke Heitger trumpet #10, 8


When all the elements are in accord and the Monster Gents are digging a trench a mile wide in the early hours of a Sunday morning at the Maple Leaf Bar, when the mercury in thermometers is shattering glass and you can slice the humidity out in the streets with a wave of your hand, when the spirit's in your sould and the groove takes control, and when you close your eyes and feel like you've been lifted six feet off the floor, that's the moment when there's not a man alive that can possibly feel greater satisfaction. Cornell, Big D and Jellybean, as well as being among my best friends, Absolute Monster musicians in their respective fields, soulful scholars and Gentlemen, are bloody good fun to be around and a pleasure to share the stage with. To have the fonkiest band in a city that's renowned for having the fonkiest bands in the world is a rare privilege. Thanks Fellas! JC


I have been having a hell of a time drawing a bead on this record. Capsule description: white British singer/keyboardist fronts an otherwise all-black three-piece New Orleans funk-soul band. I know, I know: sounds like the very quintessence of bogusness. I had the same reaction before I heard the record. But it's really not too bad, if you understand a couple of things. First off, when it comes to music in NO, more perhaps than any other city in the U.S., race has absolutely nothing to do with anything. Secondly, Cleary has one of those smooth-rough blue-eyed voices (Paul Young, for those of you who remember the 1980s) that goes down better than a po-boy and a beer on a hot August day. And, third, there is a place in the world for workmanlike bar-band funk music, and it's on your CD player. I like this record a lot. It's never going to knock your socks off -- that's not what they're trying to do. But all you need to hear is the introduction to "More Hipper," with Jeffrey "Jellybean" Alexander's second-line drum shuffle and Cornell C. Williams' deeply-felt bass lines, to love this piece. Their formula is: simple songs played simply, with love and that Delta feel, and a slavish devotion to pleasing the ear. Sure, this means they're never going to win critical plaudits; Derwin "Big D" Perkins' styled-out guitar licks are not exactly the stuff that Jimi Hendrix did, and Cleary's voice and lyrics are a bit too-too at times, especially on the crowd-pleasing "A Little Satisfaction" and the slow burning blues "Fanning The Flames." Never met a NO band yet that really worried about pushing any envelopes -- they do what they want, which is to make people happy, dammit. And what's wrong with that? Instead of worrying about all that, listen to their eight-minute version of The Meters' "Just Kissed My Baby" (with an unrecognizable Bonnie Raitt on backup vocals and slide guitar) is something to behold, and the fusion instrumental closer "Too Damn Hot" lives, incredibly, up to its title, with some of that Neville Brothers flavor on an early '70s Ohio Players/Stevie Wonder trip. Don't hate the Absolute Monster Gentlemen -- submit to them. © Matt Cibula, © 1991-2009 Ink 19

BIO (Wikipedia)

Jon Cleary (born August 11, 1962 is a funk and R&B musician based in New Orleans, Louisiana. He is from Cranbrook in Kent, England, and has studied for the past 20 years the "musical culture and life of New Orleans," according to his website. Cleary is an accomplished pianist, vocalist and song-writer. Jon Cleary performs with a number of music luminaries including Bonnie Raitt, Taj Mahal, B.B. King, Ryan Adams, and Eric Burdon. Compositions by Cleary have been recorded by notable musicians including Taj Mahal, Bonnie Raitt and most recently John Scofield on his album, Piety Street. Cleary's current band is Jon Cleary & the Absolute Monster Gentlemen, who have two current albums. Cleary has three solo albums. Jon Cleary & the Absolute Monster Gentlemen consist of Cleary on keyboard and vocals; Derwin"Big D" Perkins (born 1974) on guitar; Cornell C. Williams (born 1962) on bass and backup vocals; and Eddie Christmas on drums. All of the band members, except for Cleary, were born in New Orleans. The band is generally well received, drawing large crowds of locals at classic New Orleans venues like Tipitina's and the Maple Leaf Bar. They are also a mainstay at the annual Jazz and Heritage Festival and have played at Bonnaroo as well as other music festivals. Critics agree with the locals, and Cleary receives the lion's share of praise, but the critics don't fail to point out that the Absolute Monster Gentlemen complement and elevate Cleary's musicianship, as well as pointing out that they are technically skilled musicians. Rolling Stone's David Fricke wrote of the "Pin Your Spin album "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."


A respected session and sideman, British blues pianist and composer Jon Cleary has worked with rock, blues, and soul artists like Bonnie Raitt, D'Angelo, Maria Muldaur, Taj Mahal, and Eric Clapton. Originally a guitarist, Cleary began playing at age five, and started his first band at 15. Raised on blues, jazz, and soul records, his love of New Orleans blues and jazz in particular took him across the ocean after he graduated from art school. Upon arriving in New Orleans, Cleary started hanging out at one of the city's most storied venues — the Maple Leaf Club. The bar's owner offered him a job painting the Maple Leaf's exterior; free admission and beer were Cleary's wages. He soaked up the bar's atmosphere, realizing that blues piano was his calling; the house he lived in had a piano, on which he spent hours practicing each day. Returning to London culminated in forming a six-piece traditional New Orleans R&B band, with which he developed a reputation as a talented and gentlemanly musician. However, the Big Easy called to Cleary again. He moved back and got bookings in clubs as a featured and side performer, playing with bluesmen like Smokey Johnson, James Singleton, and George Porter. One of these gigs included Walter "Wolfman" Washington in the audience; taken with Cleary's playing, Washington offered Cleary a spot in his own band. Cleary played with Washington for two years, continuing his introduction to more sophisticated forms of R&B and blues, as well as incorporating Latin influences into his style. At this point, Cleary began writing his own material and formed his own band, the Absolute Monster Gentlemen, with bassist Cornell Williams and guitarist Derwin "Big D" Perkins from the gospel group the Friendly Travelers, and drummer Jeffrey "Jellybean" Alexander. Just as the Absolute Monster Gentlemen achieved a reputation as one of New Orleans' finest combos, Cleary encountered visa problems and had to return to the U.K. immediately. Back in England, Cleary continued refining and expanding his vision of the blues, when he received a call from producer John Porter, a fellow Englishman who had seen some of Cleary's performances at the Maple Leaf and wanted to introduce him to the blues scene at large. Recording with Taj Mahal and a gig at the Hollywood Athletic Club followed, as well as a collaboration between Cleary and Porter on his 1999 solo debut album, Moonburn. Three years would go by until a new album would be prepared, but by 2002 he had an eponymous album ready with the Absolute Monster Gentlemen. © Heather Phares, allmusic.com


Barron said...

I just learned about this band. Any chance of a repost???

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi,Barron. Expect re-up in 2-3 days, & TVM for req. ATB...Paul

A.O.O.F.C said...


P/W is aoofc