Partial support by
Jan & Gus Bell and
The Sussman Family, in memory of Seymour Sussman
Kat Edmonson seemingly came out of nowhere in 2009 to take the Austin, Texas music scene by storm. The “Old Fashioned Gal” who cites Louis Armstrong and Frank Sinatra as her musical influences began to write songs as a child, looking to the Great American Songbook for inspiration. After becoming a regular at The Elephant Room—Austin’s premier jazz club—and a stint on American Idol, Edmonson began building a following and making connections that energized her career. In 2009, she independently released her debut, Take to the Sky, which wound up climbing into the Top 20 of the Billboard Jazz charts. Soon after, she found herself playing gigs with the likes of Willie Nelson and Lyle Lovett, forming a musical kinship with the latter. Her first album of entirely original songs, Old Fashioned Gal, was released in the spring of 2018.
Coming off of two sets at the North Garden Assembly Room at Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum the night before with his band, the Absolute Monster Gentlemen, Jon Cleary strips it down to solo piano for two sets—a rare format for him outside of New Orleans. Steeped in the classic Crescent City keyboard canon, from Jelly Roll Morton to Fats Domino to Art Neville, Professor Longhair, James Booker and beyond, Cleary builds on that foundation to forge his own unique style. Emigrating from the UK in 1980, he first worked as a painter at the famed Maple Leaf Bar on Oak Street, where his devotion to NOLA funk and R&B began as he listened to the playing of Booker, Fess, Huey Smith and countless others. “I love New Orleans R&B,” Cleary explains. “I’m a student of it, and a fan, first and foremost. On my live solo shows, I make a point of trying to keep the fast-disappearing tradition of the R&B pianist/singer alive by playing the old songs that are in danger of being forgotten.”