Jon Cleary and the Absolute Monster Gentlemen


April 23, 2004

Cleary's Friday afternoon Jazzfest performance at the Sprint stage was a good time. Cleary was at his best when pumping away at his piano on high tempo boogie-woogie numbers, but he also added in some blues and R&B into the mix. His prowess on the piano was impressive. Cleary was joined onstage by drummer Raymond Weber, bassist Cornell C.Williams, and guitarist Derwin Perkins.

Even though he's a British implant, Cleary's New Orleans strut is authentic, and his energy onstage is infectious. With melodies so nice and beats so nasty, why not dance? Cleary came to party, simple as that.

Cleary injected much pride into the audience with "More Hipper," a song off his new album that talked about how New Orleans is hipper than any other city in the world. I won't argue. On a sillier note, Cleary played another new song, "Agent 00 Funk." Now, this was a kickin' song, but is this song just filler for a needed new Jazzfest album? I'd like more lyrical depth.

The camaraderie between Cleary and his band mates added levity to the show. His large white hat flopping up with the wind added some snickers. What's with his affinity for large hats that make him look dorky?

Anyway, Jon Cleary is the real thing. A wonderful excuse to party.

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