“Cleary’s full combo R&B is as broad, deep and roiling as the Mississippi River…” – Rolling Stone


Jon Cleary was born in London in 1962… not the first line you expect in a bio about a New Orleans piano great, is it? Not only that, but he’s a multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, arranger and producer, as well. He fell in love with guitar first, starting at age five, performing by eleven and working as a musician by fourteen.

As a teen Cleary grew increasingly interested in funk-infused music. Then, he discovered that Allen Toussaint had written or produced many of the songs he enjoyed. Further, Cleary’s knowledge of Toussaint’s work expanded significantly when his uncle returned home after a two-year sojourn in New Orleans. He brought a Toussaint LP and two suitcases full of New Orleans R&B 45s back to the U.K. for Cleary.  

The match was struck. In 1981 Cleary flew to New Orleans for an initial pilgrimage. There, he took a cab straight from the airport to the Maple Leaf Bar. It is a storied venue that featured great blues-rooted eclectic pianists such as Roosevelt Sykes and James Booker. Soon, his mastery of the New Orleans style landed him gigs with local legends Earl King, Johnny Adams, Walter ‘Wolfman’ Washington, Snooks Eaglin, Ernie K-Doe, Jessie Hill and as a guitarist for Mac Rebennack (Dr. John).

His dizzying career has included on-stage performances and studio recordings with a veritable who’s who of the business. He’s worked with Bonnie Raitt, John Scofield, D’Angelo, Keb’ Mo’, Eric Clapton, Heavy D, Irma Thomas and many others. He won a Grammy in 2016, and OffBeat and Gambit frequently mention him in their “Best Of New Orleans” lists. In addition, Cleary’s solo piano performances remain a fan favorite at venues like Chickie Wah Wah and the Saturn Bar.

LEARN MORE: http://www.joncleary.com

Recommended for Fans of The Absolute Monster Gentlemen, John Boutté, Henry Butler and Big Sam’s Funky Nation.


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