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.
Room 301 Sessions (Lejazzetal LJCD 08, 12 selections, TT = 43:22) www.lejazzetal.com