Authentic New Orleans Sounds at the Quick with Jon Cleary’s Philthy Phew
The sounds of authentic New Orleans funk and soul will fill Fairfield University’s Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts when Jon Cleary’s Philthy Phew performs in concert at 8 p.m., Saturday, April 13, 2013. Tickets are $35, $30, and $25.
Jon Cleary, born in England and bred in New Orleans, combines soulful vocals, masterful piano skills, and a knack for composing infectious grooves with melodic hooks and sharp lyrics. His Philthy Phew bandmates consist of fellow New Orleans musicians on bass and drums, all hailing from a city that’s famous for its rhythm sections.
Bonnie Raitt calls Cleary “the ninth wonder of the world.” He has toured and recorded with Raitt, John Scofield, and others, and balances a career of writing and recording his own music, performing live with his power trio Jon Cleary’s Philthy Phew, and leading the noted funk band The Absolute Monster Gentlemen. Cleary can be heard on vocals and keyboards on Piety Street by John Scofield & The Piety Street Band, and on Bonnie Raitt’s Silver Lining and Souls Alike, on which Raitt covered the Cleary originals, “Fool’s Game,” “Monkey Business,” “Unnecessarily Mercenary,” and ”Love on One Condition.”
Jon Cleary produced several of his own recordings including “Occapella” released Spring 2012 and described by him as “having fun with the songs of Allen Toussaint.” The recording, reviewed in “New Orleans In London” is called as “an album packed full of invention and variety, like a sonic chocolate box tribute to the great Toussaint, fabulous solo and group vocals throughout, bags of Jon’s personality, and a couple of surprise blues royalty guest appearances. Highly recommended.”
Cleary’s long list of recording credits include working with artists such as Taj Mahal, Keb Mo, India Arie, and Ryan Adams. He was a 2012 Blues Music Award Nominee for the Pinetop Perkins Piano Player of the Year honor, his 3rd nomination in this category. And in 2011, he was named among the Best Keyboards in the Blues Matters (UK) International Writer’s Poll. Another recent effort includes a live recording from Sydney, Australia, called “Mo Hippa,” which features a mix of the styles that inform the New Orleans’ sound, from island rhythms, to soul-drenched funk jams. His other releases include “Pin Your Spin”(2004), “Jon Cleary & the Absolute Monster Gentlemen”(2002), “Moonburn”(1999), and “Alligator Lips & Dirty Rice”(1994).
The multi-instrumentalist toured regularly for over a decade with Taj Mahal and then Bonnie Raitt and John Scofield. He would take his own band out in between tours. For the last few years, however, since Hurricane Katrina, he’s remained in New Orleans working on his music in his home studio.
“I don’t wait for a record deal to start writing songs,” said Cleary. “I work on songs and prepare material all the time. The creation of the music, and the timetables of the music business are two entirely different things. The timetables of the music business depend on all sorts of arbitrary considerations which has to do with selling units of records and stuff which is important. But my primary thing is just going downstairs to my studio everyday and sitting behind the keyboards and guitar or whatever, and playing music. So I’ve always got a bunch of stuff, some of which will see the light of day, some of it probably won’t. But my job, as I see it, is to just go in everyday and play music, whether there is anybody there to listen to me or not. That’s just what I do, the fruits of which you can hear when you come out to see a gig.”
Tickets are available through the Quick Center Box Office: (203) 254-4010, or toll-free 1-877-ARTS-396. (1-877-278-7396). Tickets can also be purchased online at www.quickcenter.com.
The Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts is located on the campus of Fairfield University at 1073 North Benson Road in Fairfield, Connecticut. Entrance to the Quick Center is through the Barlow Road gate at 200 Barlow Road. Free, secure parking is available. Access for people with disabilities is available throughout the Quick Center for audience members and performers. Hearing amplification devices are available upon request at the Box Office. Fairfield University is located off exit 22 of Interstate-95. For further information and directions, call (203) 254-4010 or 1-877-278-7396, or visit www.quickcenter.com