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If you like big thick slabs of funk with fat backbeats, heavy bass lines and a strong dose of the blues, then you will find much to like on John Cleary's CD Pin Your Spin. New Orleans-based John Cleary And The Absolute Monster Gentlemen rock on with sounds that bring to mind 1970s keyboards of Billy Preston and Sly Stone, bass lines of Bootsy Collins, and vocals of Maurice White that float almost effortlessly over the thick-textured funky rhythmic stew. Cleary is also a witty songwriter with lines such as "license to chill" in the refrain of the song "Agent 00 Funk."
There are a variety of sounds on Pin Your Spin with downtempo pieces like "Smile in a While," a gospelish a capella piece "Best Ain't Good Enuff," and the Latin-inspired "Oh No No No." Then there are the phat, funky pieces like "Doin' Bad Feelin' Good," "Funky Munky Biznis" and the title cut, "Pin Your Spin," that hit you below the belt and shake your booty. "Got To Be More Careful" brings to mind the style and sound of Dr. John, and the tune "Zulu Strut" that concludes the recording reminds the listener that this is a band from New Orleans and they have the Crescent City's special brand of boogaloo in their music.
This recording offers spice to listeners who like fat, funky sounds infused with fun and New Orleans musical sensibilities.
Track Listing: Pin Your Spin, Agent 00 Funk, Oh No No No, Ain't Nuttin Nice, Smile In A While, Doin Bad Feelin Good, Best Ain't Good Enuff, Funky Munky Biznis, Is It Any Wonder, Got Be Be More Careful, Caught Red Handed, Zulu Strut
Personnel: Jon Cleary (vocals, keyboards, lead guitar, bass), Derwin Perkins (vocals, guitar), Cornell C. Williams (vocals, bass), Daniel Sadownick (percussion), Raymond Weber (drums)
As a songwriter and vocalist, I love jazz for the experience of being in the center of intense creativity. It is the most potent form of music for keeping the artist and the audience in the 'now. Being in the moment is essential for humans, and we need help in learning how to do that. As a songwriter, I need the depth of musicality that jazz voicings can give my stories. My songs seem light and whimsical, but the message is not.
I met my main collaborator, Mark Fitzgibbon, at one of his gigs. I needed to do my first original album, and his playing was masterful, robust, and beautiful. At the time, I didn't realize how suited we were as a team. We're onto our 4rth album together.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to a really clear and simple version of a song so you can then hear what the musicians are doing and enjoy their creativity and musicality. Also, you have to see jazz live to appreciate it fully. You'll never feel it the same way listening to a CD or online. You need the vibration to go through your body to really get it!
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