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Recital
HEROIC LIM PERFORMANCE AT STEINWAY SOCIETY RECITAL
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, September 18, 2022
Chamber
SURPRISING IVES TRIO AND SONGS AT VMMF'S HANNA CENTER
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, July 24, 2022
Chamber
SEMINAL SCHUBERT CYCLE PERFORMANCE FROM STEGALL-ZIVIAN AT VMMF
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Saturday, July 23, 2022
Opera
MARIN'S STRIPPED-DOWN OPERA CHARMS
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, July 17, 2022
Chamber
MOZART AND BRAHMS AN AUSPICIOUS COUPLE AT VMMF FESTIVAL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, July 17, 2022
Chamber
CLARINIST HOEPRICH'S VIRTUOSITY IN VMMF OPENING CONCERT
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Saturday, July 16, 2022
Recital
AGGRESSIVE PIANISM IN MYER'S MENDO FESTIVAL RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, July 14, 2022
Opera
SONOROUS WAGNER GALA AND CAPACITY CROWD AT VALLEJO'S EMPRESS
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Saturday, July 9, 2022
Choral and Vocal
TRAVELING CHORISTERS SO CO DEBUT IN TWO BIG CANTATAS
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Saturday, June 25, 2022
Opera
VERDI'S THEATRICAL LA TRAVIATA TRIUMPHS AT CINNABAR
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, June 19, 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.