Savannah Morning News
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John Medeski’s Mad Skillet and Jon Cleary both make their SMF debuts in a night of New Orleans groove steeped in jazz, blues, psychedelic rock and R&B.
Best known for his buoyant, organ-centric approach to jazz as one third of the trailblazing trio Medeski Martin & Wood, John Medeski is a highly sought-after improviser and bandleader. His latest group, Mad Skillet, was born of a late night show in New Orleans during Jazz Fest 2015 and consists of guitarist/bandleader Will Bernard (Stanton Moore Trio, Robert Walter’s 20th Congress), sousaphone player Kirk Joseph and drummer Terence Higgins. The diverse, far-reaching backgrounds of Medeski and Bernard alongside this formidable New Orleans rhythm section has generated what Medeski calls “a vast music universe with limitless potential.”
Jon Cleary is world-renowned as an accomplished keyboardist, guitarist and vocalist. His 35 years of work on the Crescent City music scene has resulted in his own eclectic style steeped in 70s soul, gospel, funk and Afro-Caribbean rhythms. As soon as he was old enough to leave England in 1980, Cleary took off for the Crescent City, having been captivated by the New Orleans sound for most of his life as a musician. Once there, his increasingly high-profile performances revealed a level of proficient versatility that led to recording sessions and international touring work in the bands of Taj Mahal, John Scofield, Dr. John and Bonnie Raitt, who later dubbed Cleary “the ninth wonder of the world.”