Jon Cleary

Do Not Disturb

Katrina's winds blew through New Orleans pianist Jon Cleary's upper Ninth Ward home, causing roof damage and sending him out on what seemed like an endless tour as Bonnie Raitt's keyboardist in promotion of her latest CD. So Cleary has been struggling to focus on his work with his own band, the Absolute Monster Gentlemen, hence this four-song EP release he tossed out to fans at Jazz Fest to keep them sated until he can focus on a full-length CD. The songs included here once again show that Cleary is a master of reinterpreting '70s music through a decidedly funky filter. His cover of Free's 1970 classic, "All Right Now," is loaded down with mixes of acoustic-piano barrel-house fills. Another '70s gem, the Detroit Emeralds' "Feel the Need in Me," shows Cleary at his more typical soul-man groove as he twinkles the electric piano that marks his more R&B-fueled work. If these are "sketches," as Cleary promises in the liner note, I can't wait for the fleshed-out stuff. 3 stars

Jon Cleary & the Absolute Monster Gentlemen perform Thurs., June 7, at Smith's Olde Bar. For more on Jon Cleary, read this profile in New Orleans' Gambit Weekly.