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Jon Cleary and the Monster Gentlemen – Pin Your Spin

juni 1st, 2010 at 16:00

Gritty and elegant.

On Cleary’s fourth interim drummer Raymond Weber plays, and not Jeffrey ‘Jellybean’ Alexander, who previously laid down the grooves. Still that is not the biggest difference with the self-titled predecessor, because with Weber, refined in New Orleans, the Gentlemen also drive Cleary forward effortlessly, often with the aid of a percussionist.

In twelve songs the keyboardist/singer unexpectedly mixes the diverse angles of Moonburn, his second album, with his uncompromisingly swinging third, recorded almost live, to a surprising unity.

Cleary and regular producer John Porter do not shun studio effects in that process from time to time. That makes one think of influence Johnny ‘Guitar’ Watson (Agent OO Funk) and even of hiphop beats in Doin Bad Feelin Good, recorded more solo. However, these effects continually remain the starting point for Cleary’s funk, also because of the band’s inspired playing and singing of old.

On top of that Cleary pours out his both hammering and elegant keys. From his principle that songs are more than grooves alone, he, as one of few in New Orleans, writes songs with a clear structure and rounded lyrics. In a stew of funk and slowly heaving, midnightly ballads he once again convinces as a singer with his soulful and sensual voice and supple timing.

Also in two pieces inspired by Cuba and a doo-wop song, sung with guitarist Perkins, bassist Williams and Ivan Neville, Cleary and his men pair a large eagerness to a playful command. It makes them renewers and treasure keepers at the same time.


Published in roots music magazine Heaven no. 31, July-August 2004/no. 4

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