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Jon Cleary 

When: Thu., Oct. 27, 8 p.m. 2011
Price: Free
You may have heard about British actor Hugh Laurie — the famously insufferable doctor on House — releasing his first New Orleans-influenced piano blues album this year on a major label. But it’s a shame that more people haven’t heard of another piano-playing Englishman who’s been immersed in the New Orleans R&B scene for much of his post-art school life — Jon Cleary. It ought to say something that Bonnie Raitt — a standard-setter for the fusing of blues and pop if ever there was one — has had Cleary playing keyboards and singing in her band for over a decade, and that she’s cut four of his teasing, tuneful funk numbers, not to mention that he held his own on John Scofield’s groove-centric 2009 gospel set Piety Street. Cleary’s also been leading his own punchy R&B trio — The Absolute Monster Gentleman — for years, and more recently introduced a jazzier lineup called The Philthy Phew. He’s a master of stirring up that perfectly loose, sly feel, right down to his cayenne-and-honey delivery.
— Jewly Hight

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