Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Blues, Pop, Rock
The American debut from highly respected sideman and bandleader Jon Cleary is a welcome treat. Though the pianist hails from the United Kingdom, he's spent considerable time in New Orleans, and it shows; Moonburn is packed... more »
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The American debut from highly respected sideman and bandleader Jon Cleary is a welcome treat. Though the pianist hails from the United Kingdom, he's spent considerable time in New Orleans, and it shows; Moonburn is packed full of Big Easy blues with a healthy seasoning of jazz and soul. There's enough smoke in Cleary's vocals to mark him as a veteran, as if his impressive list of side projects (he's recorded with Johnny Adams, Taj Mahal, Maria Muldaur, Junior Wells, and B.B. King, among others) weren't enough, and his piano playing has that quality of easy smoothness that takes years to achieve. Whether he's rocking out with "Unnecessarily Mercenary" or the wildly uptempo "Gettin' Crazy Up in Here" or slowing things down with "Heavy Under Pressure" or "Port Street Blues," Cleary is firmly in control. One hopes that we'll hear more solo work from this impressive pianist. --Genevieve Williams
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Hugh Laurie | London, England United Kingdom | 09/06/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've never been moved to write a review before, but this.... this is the thing. Not a duff track, not a duff note. The piano playing alone will make you choke it's so beautiful. And the band, and Cleary's voice, and the production, oh just buy it for heaven's sake"
A Left Hand Like God?
Silence Dogood | USA | 09/14/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In late August, I was walking past the Ambos Mundo hotel in old town Havana when I did a complete 360 and ran into the hotel -- pouring out of the open windows and doors was the most low down, funky, driving version of "Rockin' Pneumonia" that I have ever heard. The lobby of the hotel was jammed with listeners, and more people kept pouring in as Jon Cleary played an impromptu set of about 5 numbers, ending with a sweet, mellow "Summertime." Although I give this CD 5 stars, I agree with the reviewer that said production is a little thin -- Cleary is capable of blowing a studio apart -- the man's left hand must be heard live to be believed. His pal at the Ambos Mundo told us he has a contract for 5 more CDs -- Jon, please make one of them LIVE!"
A missed opportunity
Paul Walker | 12/05/1999
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Jon Cleary, along with Henry Butler, is arguably the most talented and vital living New Orleans pianist on the scene today. He combines a knowledge of the tradition with the desire to take the music to new places using hip-hop, classic soul music, and more intense funk. He has creativity and talent pouring out of his fingers.Moonburn is a good album, but it's also a huge disappointment for anybody that's heard the same songs live. In person, Cleary's arrangements of these songs drive ahead with incredible force, determination, and good ol' fonk, filling the house with a full sound completely showcasing his and the Absolute Monster Gentlemen's considerable talents. However, on "Moonburn," he fails to capture this energy because of bad production choices and thin arrangements. Cleary forgoes using the Gentlemen on most of the tracks in favor of electronic percussion, his own stagnant bass playing, and session musicians that lack the fire and understanding of his music that the Gentlemen have. It's what makes the difference between good songs and great, even classic songs. This album would have benefitted from taking the tunes on the road first, allowing their personality to flourish like they do in concert now. If you like Jon Cleary, or even modern New Orleans music, you'll want this album. However, understand that these songs serve as mere blueprints for the live versions, then go see him and get ready to be blown away. Hopefully, a live album with definitive versions of the numbers on "Moonburn" will be recorded. The title track especially stands-out, which, played live, could be the song of the year in New Orleans, if not the decade, but you wouldn't know it from the recorded version."