picture of Jon Cleary
Jon Cleary
Jon's (* 1962 in Cranbrook/Great Britain) love and affinity for New Orleans music goes back to the rural British village of Cranbrook, Kent, where he was raised in a musical family. His father taught him the rudiments as soon as he was big enough to reach around the neck of his guitar. When his uncle, musician Johnny Johnson, returned from a sojourn in New Orleans in the early 70’s and brought back two suitcases of rare and obscure local 45s, which allowed the adolescent Cleary to pursue his study of R&B in great depth, with special attention to the New Orleans sound that increasingly captivated him.
As soon as he was old enough to leave school in 1980 Cleary took off for the Crescent City. When his flight touched down, a taxi took him straight to the Maple Leaf, a funky uptown bar which then featured such New Orleans piano legends as Roosevelt Sykes and James Booker. Jon got a job painting the club, and lived a few doors down for a time, allowing him unlimited free access to all the great New Orleans music performed within. One night when James Booker didn’t show up, the club’s manager insisted that Jon gets up and play before the paying customers demanded a refund. Thrust suddenly into the spotlight Jon was ready, willing and able to play his first paying gig in New Orleans – and although he had come to town as a guitarist, this debut was also the first step of his career as a pianist.
Soon Cleary reached the existential crossroads of either devoting his life to the city’s music, or returning to England. Cleary chose New Orleans, and before long he began to land sideman gigs with the venerable likes of such New Orleans R&B legends (and his childhood heroes) as guitarists Snooks Eaglin, and Earl "Trick Bag" King, and singers Johnny Adams, and Jessie Hill.
By 1989, Jon had recorded his first album of eight including the new GoGo Juice. His increasingly high-profile performances revealed a level of proficient versatility that led to recording sessions and international touring work – in an appropriately wide stylistic range – in the bands of Taj Mahal, John Scofield, Dr. John and, most notably, Bonnie Raitt. As a songwriter, he has written and co-written songs with and for Bonnie Raitt and Taj Mahal and the decade that he spent working with Raitt inspired her to unabashedly dub Cleary "the ninth wonder of the world."
Jon left Bonnie Raitt’s band in 2009 to concentrate on his own music. And now, 35 years since he arrived in New Orleans, he has made an eloquent, definitive and future-classic artistic statement. "Funk is the ethnic folk music of New Orleans", Jon says, "and I wanted to infuse GoGo Juice with a sound that was true to the city I love. It's the kind of record that could only be made in New Orleans."
contact: info@impactartist.com
homepage: www.joncleary.com
on tour Click on the logo to see Jon's tour dates.


Out Of The Dark
Rounder Records Rounder CD 2068
released 1988
recorded October 1987 in Metairie, LA/USA
Walter "Wolfman" Washington, guitar, vocals
Bill "Foots" Samuel, alto sax, tenor sax, baritone sax
Tom Fitzpatrick, tenor sax
Ernie Gautreau, trombone
James Spells, trumpet
Terry Tullos, trumpet, flugelhorn
Jon Cleary, organ, keyboards, piano
Kermit "Champ" Young, Hammond B-3 organ
Jack Cruz, bass
Wilbert "Junkyard Dog" Arnold, drums, vocals
Big Ol' Fiya
Bullseye Blues BB9505
released 1990
recorded in New Orleans, LA/USA
John Mooney, guitar, piano
Jon Cleary, piano, Hammond B-3 organ
David Ranson, bass
Kenneth Blevins, drums, tambourine
Where It's At
Zensor ZS 118
released 1991
recorded April/June 1991 in New York, NY/USA
Wendell Holmes, guitar, vocals
Sherman Holmes, bass, vocals
Bob Malach, tenor sax
Anders Gaardmand, tenor sax, baritone sax
Dan Levin, trombone
Tim Ouimette, trumpet
Larry Etkin, trumpet
Gib Wharton, guitar
Jon Cleary, Hammond organ, piano
Popsy Dixon, drums, percussion, vocals
Take Your Drunken Ass Home
Mardi Gras Records MG 1059
recorded in New Orleans, LA/USA
Big Al Carson, vocals
Jerry Embree, tenor sax
Emile Hall, tenor sax
Steve Blailock, guitar
Harry Sterling, guitar
Jon Cleary, clavinet, organ, piano
Frederick Sanders, organ, piano
Warner Williams, piano, synthesizer
Patrick Williams, harmonica
Erving Charles, bass
Harold Scott, bass
Gerald French, drums
Raymond Weber, drums
Silver Lining
Capitol Records 5318162
recorded in Los Angeles, CA/USA
Bonnie Raitt, slide guitar, vocals
Steve Berlin, baritone sax
Freebo, tuba
Andy Abad, guitar
Mike Dean, guitar, keyboards
James "Hutch" Hutchinson, guitar
Habib Koité, guitar
George Marinelli, guitar, mandolin
Roy Rogers, slide guitar
Tommy Sims, guitar
Jon Cleary, clavinet, Moog synthesizer, Hammond organ, piano, vocals
Mitchell Froom, clavinet, marxophone, Moog synthesizer, organ, piano
Steve Nider, keyboards
Benmont Tench, piano
Kélétigui Diabaté, balafon
James "Hutch" Hutchinson, bass
John Cregar, drums
Ricky Fataar, drums, percussion
Gary Gold, drums, snare
Alex Acuña, congas, talking drum
Souleymane Ann, calabash
Pete Thomas, percussion
No Borders To The Blues
no label
recorded in Laurel, MS; Ridgeland, MS; Hattiesburg, MS; New Orleans, LA/USA
Vasti Jackson, keyboards, bass, percussion, vocals
Jerry Embry, sax
Jerry Jumonville, sax
Fred Kemp, sax
Eric Traub, sax
Mark Mullins, trombone
Rick Trolsen, trombone
Barney Floyd, trumpet
Tracy Griffin, trumpet
Stacy Cole, trumpet
Keith Vinet, keyboards
Mark Liuzza, keyboards
Sammy Berfect, organ
Jon Cleary, organ, Wurlitzer
John Gros, organ
Tony Hall, bass
Alonzo "Pookie" Johnson, bass
George Porter jr., bass
Wilbert "Junkyard Dog" Arnold, drums
George Lawrence, drums
Big Ol' Fiya
LML Records LML 06428
recorded in New Orleans, LA/USA
John Mooney, guitar, piano, percussion, vocals
Jon Cleary, Hammond B-3 organ, piano, bass
Mark Bingham, bass
Jeff Sarli, bass
Bernard "Bunchy" Johnson, drums
Alfred "Uganda" Roberts, congas, percussion
Winds Of Louisiana
Pepper Cake PEC 2009-2
recorded in New Orleans, LA/USA
Rudy Rotta, guitar, vocals
Jon Cleary, guitar, Hammond organ, piano
Anders Osborne, guitar, Hammond organ, percussion
Nick Daniels, bass
Chad Cromwell, drums
Piety Street
EmArcy 00602517911369
recorded in New Orleans, LA/USA
John Scofield, guitar
Jon Cleary, Hammond B-3 organ, piano, vocals
George Porter jr., bass
Ricky Fataar, drums
Shannon Powell, drums, tambourine
John Boutté, vocals
Live at Jazzfest Berlin 2009
recorded live 08 November 2009 at Haus der Berliner Festspiele in Berlin/Germany
John Scofield, guitar
Jon Cleary, Hammond B-3 organ, vocals
George Porter jr., bass
Terence Higgins, drums
FHQ Records FHQ008
recorded in New Orleans, LA/USA
Jon Cleary, Hammond B-3 organ, vocals, piano, guitar, bass, mandolin
Damian Hand, tenor sax
Roderick Paulin, tenor sax
Ryan Zoidis, tenor sax
Lee Badau, baritone sax
Craig Klein, trombone
Charlie Halloran, trombone
Eric Bloom, trumpet
Leo Nocentelli, guitar
Andrew Block, guitar
Shane Theriot, guitar
Nigel Hall, Hammond B-3 organ
Calvin Turner, bass, percussion
Jamison Ross, drums
AJ Hall, percussion
My Future Is My Past
Anti- 7595-2
recorded in New Orleans, LA/USA
Walter "Wolfman" Washington, guitar, vocals
Jon Cleary, organ, piano
Ivan Neville, Fender Rhodes, keyboards
Steven De Troy, piano
David Torkanowsky, piano
Mike Dillon, marimba, vibes, bass, percussion
James Singleton, bass
Stanton Moore, drums
Irma Thomas, vocals

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