During a visit to Amsterdam in 2000 violinist and singer George Washingmachine was introduced to the top musicians of Dutch Gypsy Jazz. There he met Reinier Voet and Jan Brouwer of Pigalle44, a group that has a prominent place in that scene. A band with which would record quite a few sessions.
Reinier and Jan took recordings from three short sessions of the shelves and it would been a waste if we would have been deprived from them!
The repertoire is almost entirely based on songs from the American songbook and therefore might not be the most original song list, but it contains several gems!
First: for me a totally new rendition of Nuages, (I assume you know the composer) with charming English lyrics. Jan Brouwer told me that these lyrics have been recorded only twice in jazz history. By singer Denny Dennis and Peggy Lee!
Where George’s earlier album “Room 301 sessions” impressed us with his powerful swing, “Dream Dancing” catches our attention with its ballads.
George’s “Solitude”, delicate and withheld, beautifully accompanied by Reinier Voet’s guitar, is beautiful.
Besides that, George has won our admiration with two jazz songs that are quite difficult to sing. “Skylark” and “Moonlight in Vermont”. And again: beautiful chords by Reinier, sometimes reminding us of Johnny Smith.
And of course: when it gets to swinging, Washingmachine (what a name) regains his energy, his drive and his humour. He treats us on/with some gems, perfectly supported by the rhythm section of Brouwer and Planting. Mastering even the most daring tempos.
Really well is, in my opinion, the unexpected song “Russian Lullaby”, the very effective and coherent “My Melancholy baby”, and a very imaginative “some of these days” (inspired on Tex Avery), which is the closing song of excellent cd.
I bet you, George will be coming back to Amsterdam much more!
It is with great pleasure that I now write about a remarkable musician: George Washingmachine.
In his capable hands the violin sounds like magic, feels light as a feather, and Stephane Grapelli’s gracious style gets merged with the ever so seducing/seductive personal accents of Washingmache himself.
The foundation of this cd is a well thought of selection of jazz standards; the solos reveal inventivity, great imagination and a poetic approach that makes them above avarage.
Reinier Voet and Pigalle44 possess all these elements and it is because of that that they are in the ranks of the best gypsy jazz musicians of this very moment.
Of this strong cd, I want to mention two songs. They’re being sung and played by the leader with great feeling: Nuages, a respectful homage to Django and Russian Lullaby. This brilliant and enthusiastic rendition reminds us of that one record by the legendary Oscar Aleman.
To go short: very danceable music (isn’t that one of the virtues of Jazz?) passionately played in the style of the Quintette du Hot Club de France, and that makes the many jewels, poetry and originality on this album fall into place.
For everyone: BRAVO!
These recording came to be in sesison in 2000, 2002 and 2204 in amsterdam. the australian violinist and singer GW, who in those days visited the Dutch metropole regularly, joined Reinier Voet and his Pigalle44 to record some tunes, adding up to 16 in total.
The quality of this cd is in the combination of the musical competence of Pigalle44 and GW's originality, as well the very good selection of songs.
Next to some more often heard songs, also some very personal notes are to be heard in songs like: Dream Dancing (Cole Porter), The song is ended (Irving Berlin), Skylark (Hoagy Carmichael), How insensitive (Jobim), a vocal version of Nuages (with English lyrics) and much more. Just listen to it, over and over!
Bernhardt Gierstl (Hot Club News)