JON CLEARY & THE ABSOLUTE MONSTER GENTLEMEN
Jon Cleary is a musician with a deep appreciation for New Orleans music, which was sparked by his discovery of Allen Toussaint's work as a songwriter and producer for songs like "Lady Marmalade" and "Sneakin' Sally Through the Alley." Cleary's love for Toussaint's music was further fueled by his uncle's collection of New Orleans R&B records. In 1981, Cleary made a pilgrimage to New Orleans and began working at the Maple Leaf Bar as a painter before eventually performing there as a pianist. He was eventually hired by various New Orleans R&B legends and gained the respect of Dr. John and Allen Toussaint. In 2012, he released a critically acclaimed album of all-Toussaint songs called Occapella. Cleary's style incorporates a variety of influences, including '70s soul and R&B, gospel music, funk, Afro-Caribbean and Afro-Cuban rhythms, and more. He has released nine albums to date and has toured globally with Taj Mahal, John Scofield, Dr. John, and Bonnie Raitt. Cleary has led his own group, the Absolute Monster Gentlemen, for over two decades and continues to collaborate with old friends like Raitt.