Jon Cleary, Do Not Disturb (Independent)

The title of this four-song EP comes from the disc’s origins. It was recorded in hotel rooms and during soundchecks while on tour this past year with Bonnie Raitt. Only the mechanical drum tracks give that away, though. The grooves may not have the fingerprints of the Absolute Monster Gentlemen, but they certainly don’t sound like one musician assembling the songs layer by layer.

Cleary sounds like he’s having fun with the smaller scale of the project, whether it’s the big beat funk of his cover of Free’s “All Right Now” or his slow jam take on the Detroit Emeralds’ “Feel the Need.” His own “I Don’t Know” highlights Cleary’s interest in Caribbean rhythms, emphasized the stumbling bass pattern, and “New Area Code” presents him in the piano professor mode. The latter is the one track that probably wouldn’t sound the same if it were recorded in a studio. The clapping parts that break up piano sections are sonically as big as the piano, so rather than the moments when they appear sounding a cappella with hand claps, the percussion section is a major texture change. It’s a positive surprise, presenting something uncommon in the New Orleans piano tradition, and like everything on the EP, it’s simple, well-crafted fun.