Primary Instrument: Vocalist
On April 22, 2008, just in time for Jazz Fest, Jon Cleary and the Absolute Monster Gentlemen drop MO HIPPA, recorded live at the Vanguard in Sydney, Australia, on Cleary’s own FHQ label. In the hallowed ranks of New Orleans “piano professors,” Jon Cleary is on the tenure track. With his new release Mo Hippa (on FHQ Records), which will be in stores in time for Jazz Fest 2008, Cleary finally puts the sizzling energy of his live shows on wax.
“The fact is that the magic that happens in a live performance is unique and will only happen once,” Cleary says. On Mo Hippa, that magic is captured....
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. --David Fricke, Rolling Stone
“I haven’t heard anybody close to having absorbed so much funk and so many subtleties of the different genius piano players and guitar players and rhythms of New Orleans.” --Jazziz Magazine 2002
Cleary plays piano as if he's revving up an engine and sings as if a line drawing of his behatted self were next to soul in Webster's. --Pamela Murray Winters, The Washington Post