(HUDSON, N.Y.) – Jon Cleary and the Absolute Monster Gentlemen return to Club Helsinki Hudson to help ring out the old and ring in the new New Orleans-style on New Year’s Eve, Thursday, December 31, at 9pm. Cleary has been a mainstay on the New Orleans R&B scene for over 35 years. As a singer, pianist and songwriter, he holds his own next to Dr. John and the late Allen Toussaint, with whom Cleary often collaborated.
As is always the case when the music in the club veers toward the Big Easy, bayou-born-and-bred Helsinki executive chef Hugh Horner will prepare a menu of authentic Louisiana specialties.
Cleary’s band, the Absolute Monster Gentlemen, are regulars at classic New Orleans venues like Tipitina’s and the Maple Leaf Bar. They also are perennial performers at the annual Jazz and Heritage Festival and have played at Bonnaroo as well as other music festivals. The band includes Cleary on keyboard and vocals; Derwin “Big D” Perkins on guitar; Cornell C. Williams on bass and backup vocals; and Jellybean on drums. All of the band members, except for Cleary, were born in New Orleans.
Jon Cleary’s first performance in public was at the age of eleven and by fourteen was gigging on the UK pub circuit. He arrived in New Orleans at seventeen and got his first piano job subbing for the now legendary pianist James Booker at the Maple Leaf Bar.
Cleary further honed his skills when drafted as a sideman for the likes of Johnny Adams, Earl King and Snooks Eaglin and found himself playing long, late night gigs in the clubs of New Orleans and the road shacks of country towns in Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi.
Since then he has pursued his own career, delighting audiences around the world as a band leader and solo performer, earning a solid reputation as being, amongst other things, a “musicians musician.” He is acknowledged as a leading practitioner of New Orleans style piano, as well as a powerful and distinctive vocalist who has also earned respect as a songwriter and arranger.
Cleary has been a sideman for Ryan Adams, Taj Mahal, Dr. John, John Scofield, and has enjoyed a long association with Bonnie Raitt, who describes him as “the ninth wonder of the world.” His performing and recording credits include B.B. King, Eric Clapton, Taj Mahal, Keb Mo, and India Arie.
For reservations in The Restaurant or in the club call 518.828.4800.