KNUCKLE BUSTING OZZIE VIOLINIST
Australian multi-instrumentalist George Washingmachine washes away the dust of everyday life. When it comes to knuckle-busting feats on a violin, George doesn’t play second fiddle to anyone. Washingmachine’s Stuff Smith influenced violin playing, eccentric and swinging vocals, and his great band have electrified audiences throughout Europe and Asia.
Performances in Malaysia, France, Holland, UK, Germany, Sweden, Finland, etc., and continues to appear at all the major jazz and arts festivals in Australia.
The multi-faceted Washingmachine has had a vast and varied career in the entertainment business. As a child he trained for 7 years as a classical violinist, leaving that behind to form a rhythm and blues band as guitarist, until 1984, when he moved to Sydney and started playing jazz fiddle with The Conway Brothers Hiccup Orchestra. Since that time George has performed in countless bands and productions as a musician, actor and comedian both on stage and on screen.
TRACKLISTS & RECORDINGS
THE SARAWAK STAR MALAYSIA
THE JAZZMANN UK
ETUDES TSIGANE FRANCE
HOTCLUB NEWS GERMANY
SYNCOPATED TIMES 26.12.2019
The Room 301 Sessions
A major performer from Australia, George Washingmachine is an actor, a comedian, and has played guitar and string bass. However it is as a swing violinist that he is making his main mark on the jazz world. Room 301 Sessions, which was recorded in Room 301 of the Parkcity Everly Hotel in Malaysia during the Miri International Jazz Festival, features Washingmachine in top form leading a quartet also featuring guitarist Dave Blenkhorn, rhythm guitarist Dave Kelbie, and bassist Sebastien Girardot.
The performances contain an interesting mixture of violin solos inspired on various tracks by Stuff Smith or Stephane Grappelli with a group from the Gypsy Swing tradition. Blenkhorn’s fluent guitar solos are influenced by Django Reinhardt but not derivative. The music is quite enjoyable and good-humored with occasional vocals by the leader and the full group. Among the highlights are a good-time version of “My Blue Heaven,” the enthusiastic group vocal on “Blues In The Night,” a cooking “China Boy” worthy of Grappelli, a jump piece with nonsensical but fun singing that was recorded by Stuff Smith (“Sam, Sam The Vegetable Man”), the tasteful “Oriental Shuffle,” and a heated version of “That’s A Plenty.”
There is plenty to enjoy throughout Room 301 Sessions. Based on this CD alone, George Washingmachine ranks as one of the top swing violinists around today.
ETUDES TSIGANE FRANCE 27.11.2007
The Room 301 Sessions
Voilà 2 nouveautés du label anglais Lejazzetal; tout d\\’abord le quartet du violoniste australien George Washingmachine (quel nom!): Dave Blenkhorn et Dave Kelbie, guitares, Sébastien Girardot, contrebasse, enregistré Room 301 du Park city everly hotel pendant le Miri international jazz festival de Malaisie. 12 standards, moitié instrumentaux (“Oriental shuffle”, “Thats plenty”, “China boy”, “Wes tune”…) avec un petit côté Venuti/Lang, moitié chantés (“My blue Heaven”, “Flamingo”, “Solitude”…), réarrangés de manière très rafraîchissante par un quartet à cordes d\\’excellente tenue. Swing, swing, swing ! Tel est le mot d\\’ordre ici : rythmique d\\’enfer (cf. “Krazy kapers”), chorus virevoltants du violoniste qui conjugue drive et souplesse, et des guitares limpides qui jamais ne forcent. Si cet excellent quartet au feeling constant, tant sur tempo vif que sur tempo lent (cf. “Blues in the night”) ne révolutionnent pas le style, difficile de ne pas avoir des fourmis dans les jambes, car il swingue du feu de Dieu (cf. “Sam Sam the vegetable man”, très Slim gaillard). Ces gars là doivent mettre le feu dans un club; quant au disque la galette est très agréable à écouter.
Here are two new releases from the English label Lejazzetal; the first from the quartet of Australian violinist George Washingmachine (what a name!) featuring David Blenkhorn and Dave Kelbie on guitars, and Sebastien Girardot on bass. Recorded in Room 301 of the Park City Everly Hotel during the Miri International Jazz Festival in Malaysia. 12 standards – half instrumental numbers (Oriental Shuffle, That’s a Plenty, China Boy, Wes’s Tune…) inspired slightly by Venuti and Lang – half sung (My Blue Heaven, Flamingo, Solitude) rearranged in a very refreshing manner by a string quartet of excellent standing. Swing, swing, swing! – This is the only word that counts! A hot rhythm section (Krazy Kapers), whirlwind solos from the violinist which inspire both drive and ease, and two relaxed swinging guitars. If this excellent quartet, so solid with both up-tempo and slow tempo songs (blues in the night), doesn’t revolutionise the style with it’s toe tapping jazz, no one will, because it swings like God’s fire (Sam Sam the vegetable man, very Slim Gaillard). These guys must heat up any club and this CD is lovely to listen to.
HOTCLUB NEWS GERMANY 13.02.2008
The Room 301 Sessions
This CD is a force to be reckoned with and almost swaggers with good spirits.
The Australian singer and violinist George Washingmachine swings his way through a repertoire not heard every day of the week; one half instrumental, the other vocal. The quartet (consisting of Dave Kelbie and Dave Blenkhorn on guitars, Sebastien Girardot on bass and G.W. on violin and vocalchords) recorded this in Room 301, Parkhotel in Miri, Malaysia.
The musicians had an audibly good time in numbers such as “Blues in the night” or “He ain\\’t got rhythm”. There are no musical backflips (cartwheels) here, just relentless good humour and a band swinging like the clappers.
DJANGOSTATION FRANCE 02.04.2008
What a disk!
Recorded in the intimacy of a hotel room (room 301, thus the title), this cd from the violinist George Washingmachine (yes…that\\’s his real name) abounds in all that is swing
… We notice that the hotel in question is in a town called Miri in Malaysia where the Miri International Jazz Festival is held every year. These sides were collected in between press conferences, interviews and various excursions around the island. Lets Rejoice! Apparently there is also swinging music in the South China Sea and the Malaysian Jungle!
George Washingmachine is an australian violinist, but also multi-instrumentalist and singer. Although based in Sydney, he has many active bands and recordings which he uses to export his Entertainment Art in Europe. His niche is without a doubt the 30\\’s and 40\\’s swing which he delivers with a particularly style, sometimes playing some extremely fast tempos. His drive on the violin and his joie de vivre while singing are appreciated by all. Especially because his repertoire is often humorous (Sam, Sam, the vegetable man, Heavy date) and he never hesitates to call on his band for group vocals (Blues in the night, He ain’t got rythm). Swing and blues are sometimes put to the side for the occasional bolero (Flamingo) or ballad (Solitude), but Mr Washingmachine seems a little less in his element….No, George\\’s things is obviously the Swing, Swing….and more Swing!
THE JAZZMANN UK 13.02.2009
Enjoyable and unpretentious
The improbably named Washingmachine quartet are one of the numerous combos to record for Dave Kelbie’s Lejazzetal label. Kelbie takes the music of Django Reinhardt as his main inspiration but is no mere copyist. The outfits that record for his label, among them the Angelo DeBarre Quartet and Evan Christopher’s Django A La Creole throw fresh light on the Hot Club sound. Both these acts have been reviewed elsewhere on this site.
Australian violinist and vocalist Washingmachine adds a new flavour to the pot-humour-but his quartet still swing like crazy. As on most of the label’s recordings Kelbie appears on rhythm guitar, driving his colleagues forward in his exemplary trademark fashion. He is the sole UK representative on this record with two other Aussies making up the group. Dave Blenkhorn plays lead guitar with Sebastien Girardot undertaking double bass duties.
The album was recorded in the unlikely setting of Room 301 of the Park City Hotel in Malaysia between the group’s engagements at the Miri International Jazz Festival. The quartet alternate between vocal and instrumental numbers concentrating in the main on American material from the swing area.
Behind Washingmachine’s zany persona there is real musical ability. Although he sticks to violin here he is in fact a talented multi instrumentalist. His singing is adequate, nothing more but is perfectly acceptable for this type of material. As a violinist he turns in some excellent solos over the course of the album as does Blenkhorn who seems to be particularly inspired on this recording.
The band hit the ground running with the first vocal item, a good natured take on “My Blue Heaven” with Blenkhorn taking the instrumental honours. Next comes a spirited romp through “Krazy Kapers” on which Washingmachine demonstrates his abilities with the bow and Blenkhorn shines again. Kelbie and Girardot provide a splendid rhythmic pulse throughout and the bassist enjoys a few moments in the limelight.
This pretty much sets the pattern for the record, a whimsical version of the song “Blues In The Night” is followed by the scorching instrumental “China Boy” taken at breakneck tempo. Marvellous.
I’m less keen on the arch vocalising on “Flamingo”, a number that strays a little too far into MOR and “novelty” territory. The following instrumental “Wes’s Tune” (Montgomery, presumably) comes as a welcome relief and features some excellent violin playing.
“Sam, Sam The Vegetable Man” is real novelty number but is so self consciously daft you can’t help but enjoy it. It evokes the spirit of the late Slim Gaillard but along with the zaniness there’s some dazzling playing and it’s all great fun. A langorous instrumental, “Oriental Shuffle”, brings things back down to earth.
Like “My Blue Heaven” “Heavy Date” also features other members of the quartet on backing vocals. The voices on “Heavy Date” recall the jump jive era even though the instrumentation is pure Hot Club with swinging solos from Washingmachine and Blenkhorn.
The next item “Solitude” is actually another vocal item. It is the album’s only ballad and Washingmachine’s fragile vocal is surprisingly effective. This reflective interlude is in stark contrast to the other material and this only serves to increase it’s poignancy.
It’s business as usual on the instrumental “Thats A Plenty”, a refreshingly brisk gallop in archetypal Reinhardt/Grappelli style. The final vocal item “He Ain’t Got Rhythm” bookends the album in enjoyable fashion.
The “Room 301 Sessions” is an enjoyable and unpretentious record that unashamedly seeks to entertain. Most of the time it does exactly that and I’m certain that the quartet’s live shows must be hugely enjoyable. Some of the vocal numbers may pall for the home listener after a while but the dazzling instrumental work largely makes up for this.
Another worthwhile offering from the Lejazzetal stable and one that casts a highly entertaining light on the Reinhardt legacy.
SCOTLAND ON SUNDAY UK 06.04.2008
Room 301 Sessions
From the same “jazz should be entertaining” school of thought as the great Marty Grosz comes the inexplicably named George Washingmachine, an Australian violinist and vocalist who has appeared at a few Edinburgh Jazz Festivals over the years.
This new CD features him in Hot Club mode, with two guitars and a bass, and it showcases his excellent, swinging and joyful violin-playing. The vocals are fairly nondescript, but at least on CD the jokes are left out.