Home  Reviews  Articles  Calendar  Presenters  Add Event     
Opera
VERDI'S THEATRICAL LA TRAVIATA TRIUMPHS AT CINNABAR
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, June 19, 2022
Symphony
MARIACHI MEETS ORCHESTRA AT THE SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, June 12, 2022
Choral and Vocal
RARE MOZART COUPLING COMPLETES SONOMA BACH'S SEASON IN SCHROEDER
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Saturday, May 28, 2022
EXOTIC RUSSIAN MUSIC FEATURED IN MV PHIL CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Thursday, May 19, 2022
Symphony
SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY PREMIERES DAUGHERTY SKETCHES OF SONOMA COUNTY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, May 8, 2022
Chamber
BRAHMS-ERA TRIOS HIGHLIGHT OAKMONT CHAMBER CONCERT
by Nicholas Xelenis
Thursday, May 5, 2022
Chamber
CHAMBER GEMS OF BRAHMS IN TRIO NAVARRO'S SCHROEDER CONCERT
by Judy Walker
Sunday, May 1, 2022
Recital
UNIQUE ELEGANCE IN GALBRAITH GUITAR RECITAL
by Gary Digman
Friday, April 29, 2022
Symphony
VSO'S ELEGANT PASTORAL SYMPHONY SHINES IN EMPRESS RETURN
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 24, 2022
Choral and Vocal
A SPIRITUAL FAURE REQUIEM IN GOOD FRIDAY CANTIAMO CONCERT
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Friday, April 15, 2022
OTHER REVIEW
Green Music Center / Saturday, September 25, 2021
Jon Cleary, piano snd the Absolute Monster Gentlemen

Jon Cleary and the Absolute Monster Gentlemen Sept. 25

CLEARY'S NEW ORLEANS BAND IGNITES PARTY FOR THE GREEN AT SSU

by Terry McNeill
Saturday, September 25, 2021

A dramatic and unique start to the new Green Music’s Center’ 2021-2022 season exploded in a “Party for the Green” Sept. 25, a New Orleans (NO) style commotion featuring Jon Cleary and his Absolute Monster Gentlemen band, inside and outside of Weill Hall.

Beginning with a private gourmet dinner in the GMC’s Prelude Restaurant, and a reception (drinks only) on the Trione Patio, the first musical part came as Mr. Cleary mounted the Hall’s stage to ravage the concert Fazioli piano, playing a 45-minute set of solos. It was an outsized celebration of Louisiana soul, R&B, Afro-Caribbean, Afro-Cuban, French Quarter jazz and presumably much more. House lights were dim and the close-at-hand microphone carried Mr. Cleary’s unrivaled sound to 200 excited listeners, some standing and some clapping with the music.

However, much also was missing. Mr. Clearly is a classic New Orleans shouter and his voice was a raw blend of drawl and aggressive phrasing, and he isn’t a very good pianist. Acoustically his always loud voice collided with the piano sound and the mic’s pickup, producing a continual bevy of indistinct words, albeit ones with potent emotions. His right shoe pounded the floor in sync with his top register and rolled bass chords, in a style far removed from stride or boogie-woogie piano. The highlights were the playing of musical memories of the old NO Storyville section and the Roy Price song that ended the session. Well, he is a stylist with a convincing singularity.

What happened after intermission? The real party began in front of the Hall’s doors where more NO food and sensational NO fashion drinks welcomed the audience streaming out from the lobby, and Mr. Clearly quickly found his preferred musical ground with his band and a two-manual electric piano amplified to be heard all the way to Rancho Cotati’s night football game. Three additional musicians (bass, vocals, drums, tambourin) jumped in and the party took flight. A mostly non-student group of oldsters gathered close to the Band, some with drinks and food in hand, for dancing and palpable enjoyment. Smiles abounded and the crisp evening weather cooperated.

SSU President Judy Sakaki, GMC’s Board Chair (John Boland) and Executive Director (Jacob Yarrow) underscored in announcements the evening’s gala return to live performances after 18 months in COVID purgatory, and the substantial benefits the GMC’s productions provide for the University and local communities. Thirty Four performances in Weill and Schroeder run through late May, 2022.