Jon Cleary’s Philthy Phew; Thursday, September 12, 2013


Jon Cleary’s Philthy Phew
Thursday, September 12
Kuumbwa Jazz

“…musician by trade, storyteller by consequence…”  – Los Angeles Times

New Orleans’ Jon Cleary is a musical triple threat, with a salty-sweet voice, masterful piano skills, and a knack for stacking infectious grooves with melodic hooks and sharp lyrics. Born in England, but with his music firmly grounded in the Crescent City, Cleary follows in the line of great NOLA keyboard players such as James Booker and Professor Longhair. A longtime sideman for Bonnie Raitt and Taj Mahal, Cleary thankfully finds the time to lead his own groups at home in New Orleans dive bars and on stages worldwide. With him comes a power trio he has dubbed The Philthy Phew; a lean and mean, road-tested machine, serving up greasy spoonfuls of R&B and funk.

In the storied ranks of New Orleans piano ‘professors’ and ‘doctors,’ Cleary is on the tenure track. He not only has his piano chops to keep him on that fast track, but a compositional ear that churns out tunes ranging in style from New Orleans funk, to classic R&B and steamy tropical rhythms – melodies and rhythms a la Allen Toussaint, with a piano twist, a la Dr. John.

Cleary remarks: “I’ve long been harboring a hankering to drive a band from behind the wheel of an old acoustic piano, to bash out a selection from my side stash of material. These include songs I’ve been writing, borrowing and stealing for swampy Caribbean drums and upright bass or tuba.”  The Philthy Phew gives him the opportunity to do so, and they do it well.

Cleary’s playing and songwriting skills have garnered the attention of fellow musicians such as Raitt and John Scofield, both of whom have toured extensively with Cleary on the keys and join an ever-growing list of artists who have sought out Cleary’s abilities on-stage and in-studio. But, it is Cleary’s five recordings as a solo artist that will cement his place in the pantheon of The Big Easy’s piano masters. His latest release is 2012’s Occapella, a twelve-song album filled with New Orleans classics such as “Fortune Teller,” “Southern Nights” and “Everything I Do Gon’ Be Funky,” all with Cleary’s special twist. It’s a rite-of-passage for any New Orleans musician to record these songs, and Cleary does it with style.

Jon Cleary’s Philthy Phew

DATE: Thursday, September 12, 2013
VENUE: Kuumbwa Jazz Center
ADDRESS: 320 Cedar St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
TIME: 7:00 PM
PRICE: $20/Adv $23/Door
TICKETS: Logos Books & Records, 1117 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz (831) 427-5100 and online at:
MORE INFO: or 831-427-2227

Media contact:
Peter Himberger

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