4th Annual MCLA Blues & Funk Festival
Friday, February 6, 2009; 7:30 pm
Jon Cleary and the Absolute Monster Gentlemen (with MCLA Jazz Band, Whiskey Barrel Brothers, and Unfulfilled Desires)
MCLA's Church Street Center
**Exclusive housing sponsor: The Orchards
Get ready to raise the roof off the Church Street Center as MCLA celebrates the best in funk and blues-- both the old and the new. This ever-popular event is back featuring New Orleans funk legend Jon Cleary and the Absolute Monster Gentlemen, and a fresh upstart singer who has been taking the R & B world by storm, Maya Azucena.
On Friday night, the Festival kicks off with New Orlean's giant, Jon Cleary, a triple threat - with a salty-sweet voice, masterful piano skills, and a knack for coupling infectious grooves with melodic hooks and sharp lyrics. Cleary's live shows are an explosive funk party mixing old school soul with the rhythms of New Orleans. Saturday night features Brooklyn native and up-and-coming super star Maya Azucena. Maya has been hailed by the New York Post as the new Chaka Khan.
A respected session and sideman, British blues pianist and composer Jon
Cleary has worked with rock, blues, and soul artists like Bonnie Raitt, D'Angelo, Maria Muldaur, Taj Mahal, and Eric Clapton.
Originally a guitarist, Cleary began playing at age five, and started his first band at 15. Raised on blues, jazz, and soul records, his love of New Orleans blues and jazz in particular took him across the ocean after he graduated from art school.
Upon arriving in New Orleans, Cleary started hanging out at one of the city's most storied venues -- the Maple Leaf Club. The bar's owner offered him a job painting the Maple Leaf's exterior; free admission and beer were Cleary's wages. He soaked up the bar's atmosphere, realizing that blues piano was his calling.
Often described as the "hardest working artist I know," Maya Azucena has planted the seeds for her burgeoning career by touring around the world. To date, she's shared stages or been on bills with legendary artists, vets and newcomers from the worlds of R&B, Soul, Hip Hop, Jazz, and Rock. Artists such as Roberta Flack, Stephen Marley, Joss Stone, Bilal, Lupe Fiasco, Big Daddy Kane, the Isley Brothers, Gladys Knight, and John Legend comprise the partial list.
Her sound has been compared to Roberta Flack, Chaka Khan, Lauryn Hill and Jill Scott. What lies in common between all the comparisons is the high energy, excellent live show and huge range.
2006 Memphis Blues Challenge Finalist, Robin O'Herin plays traditional pre-war delta and country blues and gospel. She specializes in historically rich, often interactive concerts that include original and traditional American music, for schools, libraries and small listening rooms. Her concerts are warm, affirming experiences she shares with the audience. Having recently signed with Wepecket Island Records she will be on tour for most of March, as well as working on a new CD.
"..Bottleneck blues, Gospel and strong folk originals from
Berkshire-based O'Herin, who accompanies her Appalachian edged,
rein-free vocals with some creative, dancing fingerpickin..." Sing Out
To buy tickets, call 413.662.5204.
To become a member and support this great work, call 413.662.5224.
For more information, call 413.664.8718.