Jon Cleary, the maestro of New Orleans native funk, returns to pieces full of soul music that earned him the critics’ accolade for his album Moonburn in 1999 – and he does it with the album GoGo Juice on the ‘FHQ Records’ label.
Above and beyond Cleary’s undoubted ability to play the oboe, the musician is also well known the world over as an accomplished keyboardist & guitarrist as well as possessing a deeply poignant voice.
Thirtyfive years spent on stage in Crescent City has made him a respected performer among the R&B icons in New Orleans, among which are Dr John and Allen Toussaint, who recently died in Madrid. In fact, Toussaint reserved a spot in his busy diary to write the majority of the arrangements for the wind instruments in the disc GoGo Juice.
In addition to the Toussaint touch, GoGo Juice bursts full flavor, with expert accompaniment by some of New Orleans’ top session men, including keyboardist and vocalist Nigel Hall, added to the production supplied by veteran Grammy Award-winning producer John Porter.
Cleary knows only too well Crescent City’s piano legacy, from Jelly Roll Morton to Fats Domino and from Art Neville to James Booker, and he uses that century’s worth of pianistic brilliance as a starting point to forge his own unique and eclectic style.
“I love New Orleans R&B, “ Cleary explains. “I’m a great fan, but there’s little point in just going back and re-recording the old songs. I think the greatest New Orleans R&B records are the ones that built on what went before but also added something new. By writing new songs you get to channel all the music you absorb through your own individual set of filters, and the fun is in seeing what emerges. Funk is the traditional ethnic music of New Orleans and I wanted to fill this album with a sound that was loyal to the city I love”
In GoGo Juice, Jon Cleary makes an eloquent & definitive declaration of his artistic vision regarding funk music. A musical expression prepared with great dexterity and full of Jon’s musicality & energy. Real music performed really well.
Jon Cleary – keys and vocals
Cornell Williams – bass
AJ Hall – drums