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Total price: £50.00

Sunday 25th August 2019: 3pm - Doors open at 2pm

The Rye international jazz and blues festival proudly present a special afternoon headline concert with Jon Cleary on Sunday 25th August in the stunning setting of St Mary’s church Rye, East Sussex.

Jon Cleary’s love and affinity for New Orleans music goes back to the rural British town of Cranbrook, Kent, where he was raised in a musical family. Cleary’s maternal grandparents performed under the respective stage names Sweet Dolly Daydream and Frank Neville, ‘The Little Fellow With The Educated Feet’ – she as a singer, and he as a tap dancer.

Following up on his critically acclaimed, Grammy-winning album, GoGo Juice, Jon Cleary triumphantly returns with the infectiously ebullient Dyna Mite (FHQ Records). Sly, slinky, and deeply soulful, the aptly entitled new release finds this Big Easy funk savant – a virtuosic keyboardist, profoundly expressive vocalist, and quite distinctive songwriter – in peak form on a set of all-original material.

Like GoGo Juice, Dyna-Mite was co-produced by Cleary and the prolific John Porter, who’s eclectic, behind-the-board credits include albums by Ryan Adams, Billy Bragg, Elvis Costello, B.B. King, Buddy Guy, R.L. Burnside, Taj Mahal, and the late Hammond B-3 master Jimmy Smith.

Today, Cleary’s work pays obvious homage to the classic Crescent City keyboard repertoire created by such icons as Jelly Roll Morton, Fats Domino, Professor Longhair, Art Neville, Dr. John, and James Booker – while also using it as a launching pad for a style that incorporates such other diverse influences as ’70s soul and R&B, gospel music, funk, Afro-Caribbean and Afro-Cuban rhythms, and much more.

His increasingly high-profile performances revealed a level of proficient versatility that led to recording sessions and international touring work – in an appropriately wide stylistic range – in the bands of Taj Mahal, John Scofield, Dr. John and, most notably, Bonnie Raitt.

As a songwriter, he has written and co-written songs with and for Bonnie Raitt and Taj Mahal and the decade that he spent working with Raitt inspired her to unabashedly dub Cleary “the ninth wonder of the world.” In 2009, Cleary left the Raitt band to concentrate on his own music. And now, 35 years since he arrived in New Orleans, Cleary has made an eloquent, definitive and future- classic artistic statement. “Funk is the ethnic folk music of New Orleans,” Cleary says, “and I wanted to infuse GoGo Juice with a sound that was true to the city I love. It’s the kind of record that could only be made in New Orleans.”

Demand will be extremely high for this special concert so we encourage you to book early!

We would like to thank our joint sponsors for the concert UBI and Benenden Hospital.

Why not get a group of friends together or treat someone special, arrange a pre-concert meal or book to stay overnight at one of the many superb hotels, B&B’s or guest houses.

Unreserved Seated £50
Doors open 2pm. Concert starts at 3pm.

Booking fee applies.

Make a weekend of it! Click here for camping and hotel options and more information about Rye & surrounding areas.

Artist: Jon Cleary

Listen to Jon Cleary

Jon Cleary’s love and affinity for New Orleans music goes back to the rural British town of Cranbrook, Kent, where he was raised in a musical family. Cleary’s maternal grandparents performed under the respective stage names Sweet Dolly Daydream and Frank Neville, ‘The Little Fellow With The Educated Feet’ – she as a singer, and he as a tap dancer.

Beyond Cleary’s considerable skills as a tunesmith he is equally renowned around the globe as an accomplished keyboardist and guitarist, and a deeply soulful vocalist. Cleary’s thirty-five years of intensive hands-on work on the Crescent City scene has made him a respected peer of such New Orleans R&B icons as Dr. John and Allen Toussaint. Toussaint, in fact, took time from his busy schedule to write most of the horn arrangements for his new album GoGo Juice – thus bringing symmetry to Cleary’s recording of an entire album of Toussaint songs, entitled Occapella, which garnered rave reviews in 2012.

Diversity similarly characterises the essence of Jon Cleary’s work and career. While thoroughly steeped in the classic Crescent City keyboard canon – from Jelly Roll Morton to Fats Domino to Art Neville, James Booker, and beyond – Cleary uses that century’s worth of pianistic brilliance as a point of departure to forge his own unique and eclectic style. As heard in the widely varied grooves and textures of GoGo Juice, Cleary’s sound incorporates such far-flung influences as ‘70s soul, gospel music, funk, Afro-Caribbean (and especially Afro-Cuban) rhythms and more. “I love New Orleans R&B, “ Cleary explains. “I’m a student of it – and a fan, first and foremost. But there’s little point in just going back and re-recording the old songs – although on my live solo shows, especially in New Orleans, I make a point of trying to keep the fast- disappearing tradition of the R&B pianist/singer alive by playing the old songs that are in danger of being forgotten. As for recording, however, I think the greatest New Orleans R&B records are the ones that built on what went before but also added something new. By writing new songs you get to channel all the music you absorb through your own individual set of filters – and the fun is in seeing what emerges.”

Cleary has gloriously achieved this desired synthesis of tradition-rooted originality and forward thinking on GoGo Juice. From the ska-inflected “Pump It Up” to the life-affirming Fellini-esque “second line” that is “Boneyard,” from the introspective confessional ballad “Step Into My Life” to the rambunctious funk of “Getcha GoGo Juice,” from the exquisitely unhurried syncopation of “Love On One Condition” to the pulsing Southern-soul feel of “Beg, Steal or Borrow,” GoGo Juice makes a deep personal statement by Cleary and shimmers as a multi-faceted jewel of variegated grooves.

Jon Cleary’s love and affinity for New Orleans music goes back to the rural British village of Cranbrook, Kent, where he was raised in a musical family. Cleary’s maternal grandparents performed under the respective stage names Sweet Dolly Daydream and Frank Neville, ‘The Little Fellow With The Educated Feet’ – she as a singer, and he as a tap dancer. His father was a 50’s skiffle man and taught him the rudiments as soon as he was big enough to reach around the neck of his guitar. Upon attaining double-digit age Cleary became avidly interested in funk-filled music, buying records and intently studying their labels and album covers in order to glean as much information as possible. Such perusal revealed that three songs he especially loved — LaBelle’s “Lady Marmalade,” Robert Palmer’s version of“Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley” and Frankie Miller’s rendition of “Brickyard Blues” – were attributed to Allen Toussaint as either the songwriter, the producer, or both. Cleary’s knowledge expanded significantly when his Uncle, musician Johnny Johnson returned from a sojourn in New Orleans in the early 70’s and brought back two suitcases of rare and obscure local 45s, which allowed the adolescent Cleary to pursue his study of R&B in great depth, with special attention to the New Orleans sound that increasingly captivated him.

As soon as he was old enough to leave school in 1980 Cleary took off for the Crescent City. When his flight touched down a taxi took him straight to the Maple Leaf, a funky Uptown bar which then featured such New Orleans piano legends as Roosevelt Sykes and James Booker. Cleary got a job painting the club, and lived a few doors down for a time, allowing him unlimited free access to all the great New Orleans music performed within. One night when James Booker didn’t show up, the club’s manager insisted that Jon get up and play before the paying customers demanded a refund. Thrust suddenly into the spotlight Jon was ready, willing and able to play his first paying gig in New Orleans – and although he had come to town as a guitarist, this debut was also the first step of his career as a pianist.

Soon Cleary reached the existential crossroads of either devoting his life to the city’s music, or returning to England. Cleary chose New Orleans, and before long he began to land sideman gigs with the venerable likes of such New Orleans R&B legends (and his childhood heroes) as guitarists Snooks Eaglin, and Earl “Trick Bag” King, and singers Johnny Adams, and Jessie Hill.

By 1989, Cleary had recorded his first album of eight including the new GoGo Juice. His increasingly high-profile performances revealed a level of proficient versatility that led to recording sessions and international touring work – in an appropriately wide stylistic range – in the bands of Taj Mahal, John Scofield, Dr. John and, most notably, Bonnie Raitt. As a songwriter, he has written and co-written songs with and for Bonnie Raitt and Taj Mahal and the decade that he spent working with Raitt inspired her to unabashedly dub Cleary “the ninth wonder of the world.”

Jon Cleary left Bonnie Raitt’s band in 2009 to concentrate on his own music. And now, 35 years since he arrived in New Orleans, Cleary has made an eloquent, definitive and future-classic artistic statement. “Funk is the ethnic folk music of New Orleans,” Cleary says, “and I wanted to infuse GoGo Juice with a sound that was true to the city I love. It’s the kind of record that could only be made in New Orleans.”

Venue: St Mary’s Church

St Mary’s Church

Make a weekend of it!
Click here for camping and hotel options and more information about Rye & surrounding areas.

St Mary’s provides a wonderful setting for our Rye headline concerts throughout the year and we are proud to have hosted artists including Jose Feliciano, Courtney Pine, Kandace Springs, Eric Bibb, Nigel Kennedy, KT Tunstall, Mica Paris, Kyle Eastwood and Joan Armatrading. We’re sure you’ll love the venue as much as our artist’s have loved performing here!

Situated in the heart of the citadel, St Mary’s has stood for the best part of 1000 years and is home to the oldest still-functioning pendulum clock in the country . It has some fine stained glass, including a window designed by the pre-Raphaelite Burne-Jones in the north aisle and offers breathtaking views over the surrounding area and coast from its tower.

St Mary’s Church, Church Square
Rye, East Sussex TN31 7HF

Facilities at St Mary’s Church
Please note all performances will have an interval of approximately 20 minutes. The church has no dedicated toilet facilities and we thank our friends at Kino Cinema (one minute walk) for allowing our concert attendees to use their facilities.

  • Fully licensed bar for pre-concert & interval drinks & snacks
  • Unreserved theatre style seating
  • Wheelchair access (please email info@ryejazz.com to book special access once you have booked your tickets)

We would like to thank the staff & volunteers at St Mary’s Church for their support and assistance at the concerts.

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