Beyond Cleary’s considerable skills as a tunesmith he is equally renowned around the globe as an accomplished keyboardist and guitarist, and a deeply soulful vocalist. Cleary’s thirty-five years of intensive hands-on work on the Crescent City scene has made him a respected peer of such New Orleans R&B icons as Dr. John and Allen Toussaint. Toussaint, in fact, took time from his busy schedule to write most of the horn arrangements for GoGo Juice – thus bringing symmetry to Cleary’s recording of an entire album of Toussaint songs, entitled Occapella, which garnered rave reviews in 2012.
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Jon Cleary is the ninth wonder in the world.
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