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Byron Shire
January 22, 2022

Doing your jazz washing

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Tweed Valley Jazz Club go out with a bang this year with a show with the brilliant George Washingmachine at the Condong Bowls Club.

George, how do you approach playing music these days? Has it changed much since you were a lad? 

Well I just try to make the music sound nice and swinging. Every time. Most times I feel I succeed. Yes, after having played now since I was nine years old. Started classical training. Played in the Canberra Youth Orchestra. Things took a turn when I went to the guitar and played the blues and rock’n’roll for many years. Around age 25 my ears turned to jazzier things, though I still pull out all my old vinyl and get into the classic rock stuff: Cream, Johnny Winter, Beatles, The Stones, Doors etc.

A large part of my diet is jazz, but I’m listening to a lot of classical as well.

You’re loved for your eccentricity. What are some of the more bizarre things you’ve had a crack at over your career?

I did a striptease in France a few years ago. Just to make sure the crowd was awake.

Are you a believer in mentoring new musicians? What advice would you have for new players coming into jazz today? Absolutely. If people are interested in the music I’m always keen to give them a go and tell them my philosophy on music. At the Wangaratta Festival a couple of weeks ago I held a great workshop, and had them all playing – violin, didgeridoo, saxophone, trombone – had them all playing together and making music.

What do you think of this emerging new Jazz Party scene happening among the groovers in Melbourne? Why do you think all the inner-city hipsters are being turned back onto jazz?

Inner city groovers. Great. There’s plenty of young folk being turned onto jazz at the moment. My sons play jazz guitar with me and various other players around Sydney, but are also involved in hip-hop and street art. Fantastic. Just go for it. There’s so much to learn from jazz going back 100 years or so. I could go on forever about the next generation.

What attracted you to the genre when you were a happening young hipster?

The musical integrity of jazz – melodies, lyrics and the thought that’s going into the playing. I still love playing blues and rock and loud music. But playing acoustic jazz is my preference.

What are you listening to at the moment?

Mixing up my listening at the moment. Anita O’Day, Ravell, Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys, Duke Ellington. Debussy. Classical guitar, flamenco, orchestras. You name it I’m mixing it up.

Tell me about the band you are playing with and what we should expect for your Condong Show.

I’m bringing Feel The Manouche. We have a new album out called The Moon Has Left Town.

Manouche is a term derived from the Romany gypsies of Europe, what we in Australia call gypsy jazz.

This fine band has been put together by its individual members as an exercise in small-group swing.

Feel The Manouche has a ‘world music’ feel. Through its use of double bass, guitar, accordion and fiddle, the band achieves a strong melodic groove that can take on gypsy waltzes, swing jazz, chore and many other flavours of music from our diverse planet. We invite you to sit back and Feel The Manouche.

Friday at the Condong Bowling Club from 6.30pm. Opened by The Early Birds with Feel the Manouche from 8pm. Bookings to 6672 2238.

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