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Jon Cleary's Alchemy of the Groove

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This week, we bring you that funky gentleman in the Ninth Ward, Jon Cleary, who  joins us to talk about his native England, his grandmother, the piano back home, his mother's songwriting chops, and a variety of other loves.

Cleary grew up listening to New Orleans soul, R&B and funk. And now, we listen to him.

As a mulit-instrumentalist and sideman, he's played with some of the best artists, including Earl King, Bonnie Raitt, Dr. John, Snooks Eaglin, Ernie K-Doe and Walter "Wolfman" Washington. But Cleary is even better fronting his own band and digging into his own groove.

Mavis Staples might have said it best: "Get out the way and let the gentleman do his thing."   

To connect with Jon Cleary, visit the Music Inside Out website

LAGNIAPPE

Here's an excerpt from Robert Mugge's 2006 documentary New Orleans Music in Exile, featuring Jon Cleary's brief history of New Orleans piano.

PLAYLIST

For a print version of the complete playlist, visit MusicInsideOut.org

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Gwen Thompkins is a New Orleans native, NPR veteran and host of WWNO's Music Inside Out, where she brings to bear the knowledge and experience she amassed as senior editor of Weekend Edition, an East Africa correspondent, the holder of Nieman and Watson Fellowships, and as a longtime student of music from around the world.