|We have many outstanding nights here at Brisbane’s Home of Live Jazz.
And yep. We had one tonight.
Billed as ‘Cleon Barraclough and his 10 piece Band’, the night could be just as accurately have been billed as, ‘Cleon Barraclough’s Wall of Sound’. For that is exactly what this band of exquisitely skilled musicians delivered.
This was In your face. No apologies. Take no prisoners. This was talent and personality overflow. This was eleven true Masters at work. This was a power-packed, brilliant, wall of sound.
And the packed house, Sunday-night audience lapped it up!!
The band, in various configurations, presented an eclectic mix of genres, styles and songs, in three distinct sets.
Set One piqued our interest with swinging arrangements of standards such as ‘The Lady is a Tramp’ and ‘It Don’t mean a Thing, (If It Ain’t Got that Swing)’. Set Two seduced us with a tight and sexy Latin groove. Set Three took us deep into New Orleans Funk territory.
The core of the combo was Cleon on keys and vocals, and a blazing four-piece rhythm section; Josh Boyd on guitar and some vocals, Pat Farrell on bass, Reuben Bradley on drums and Daniel Guerrero on percussion.
They were joined on many numbers by the oh, so cool three-piece horn section; David Cox on tenor sax, Shannon Marshall on trumpet, Nick Laganin on trombone.
The final two bricks in this wall were the lead vocalists; the creamy-Jazz-voiced, Kelsey Giorola, and the powerful, husky-sexy-exotic voice and style of Andonia Allayialis.
The architect was Cleon Barraclough. This budding initiate to the Man-bun Appreciation Society, is a keyboard maestro, vocalist, composer and musical director, who started playing piano at 3 years of age. The intervening years of training, and the development of his blueprint skills and passion for his music, were the unmistakable cornerstone of tonight’s distinctive and engaging performance.
Though classically trained, as a teenager, he turned his attention to exploring the exciting worlds of Jazz and Afro-Cuban music, and has not looked back. More recently, he added a new instrument and dimension to his music, with his vocals.
Cleon’s delight is to reach you, to touch you, and to move you with the essence of each song. And he does that with a sparkling persona, a sweeping vocal and emotional range, and inspiring, rainbow-layered arrangements. All in collaboration with the very best of local talent.
Tonight’s sublimely talented combination prowled our stage as restless, edgy explorers and trailblazers; leading us through a vast and colourful soundscape with a power that filled the Brisbane Jazz Club like a steam train roaring through a suburban railway station.
Each member of the combo had their solos, and each one was exquisitely delivered. Captivating. And generously and enthusiastically applauded.
Andonia’s performance, with her power and chops, colourful outfit, flashing eyes, huge smile and gyrating hips, was one of many individual highlights. At times, her clever scatting and beat-boxing had her blending seamlessly with Daniel on percussion, and later, as a fully paid-up member of the horn section.
Andonia also called us up to dance to music that undeniably had the drive, the vibe and the pull. However, we were all happy to sit, listen, watch, absorb and appreciate, while dancing in our seats!!
This was a memorable night, the story of which can be summed up succinctly in lines from three of the Jon Cleary tunes that the band performed tonight;
‘Jazz. Funk. Rhythm and Blues. Soul’.
‘There’s a power in music, and it sure feels good to me’.
‘So damn good, I’ll be happy when I get the Blues’.
Thank you Cleon and your ten-piece band. We are all looking forward to next time.
Brisbane Jazz Club