Julie O'Hara: ...Paper Moon & Smoke Rings


Sign in to view read count

George Washingmachine/Julie O'Hara
...Paper Moon
New Market Music

Julie O'Hara
Smoke Rings

Australia-based singer Julie O'Hara hangs out with a very convivial bunch. It's clear from her two recent releases, ...Paper Moon, with George Washingmachine, and Smoke Rings, with "Rifftet, her four-man band, that she and her entertaining cohort have spent a lot of time performing together live and in the studio—their prodigious and varied output suffers not a bit for the whimsy.

Maintaining composure might have proved difficult beside a fellow with the last name of "Washingmachine. If so O'Hara never shows it. She glides breezily through the tunes on "...Paper Moon, always well-modulated and in control, even when she and Washingmachine go head to head on their highly energized vocal solos. Washingmachine is hardly mere comic relief; he plays a mean violin and applies his amiable, smokey baritone dextrously as both a backup and lead singer (his snoring on the blues tune, "Lazy Bones notwithstanding).

The two share a laid-back (but precise) rhythmic understanding, accentuated by Andy Ross's driving bass lines, which are featured more prominently than usual on a swing recording. Ben Johnson's graceful piano accompaniment and Lyn Wallis' responsive drumming give the disc a retro—but very hip—feel.

Besides some classic swing numbers—"It's Only A Paper Moon, "Anything Goes, and a moderate "Everything Happens To Me —there are some surprises, like "If I Only Had A Brain, from the movie, The Wizard Of Oz. Washingmachine and O'Hara each contribute an original to the disc, Washingmachine's clever "Pretty As A Picture and O'Hara's bright up-tempo, "Jump Up swing It. Washingmachine also created the CD's cover art: a group of six musicians cutting up beneath an oversized yellow moon. Clearly having a good time.

On O'Hara's second release, Smoke Rings, a casual read of the song titles suggests a more traditional vocal jazz CD than the end product delivers. The group's treatment of these standard tunes is anything but predictable: O'Hara and her polished "rifftet move adroitly among so many different styles (early swing, latin, R&B, country, blues) that it's a challenge to categorize the tunes. On the title cut, for instance, O'Hara breaks the country blues feel of the piece with a sophisticated scat improvisation; Chris Tanner adds a rococo, prebop clarinet solo; and guitarist Peter Baylor, who also played on ...Paper Moon, interjects some hearty blues licks.

Baylor and Tanner join O'Hara in developing the CD's vocal sound: they lock harmonies with O'Hara on "Squeeze Me and whoop the chorus in Nat King Cole's "Let's Make More Love. These two also do the lion's share of soloing, and Tanner's clarinet leads on two instrumental cuts, "Clarinet Marmalade and Lester Young's "Tickle-Toe.

O'Hara's rhythm sections deserves as much credit as her soloists for the success of the disc. O'Hara features Mark Elton (bass) and Raj Jayaweera (drums) on her interpretation of From This Moment On: her intense, burning scat hovers delicately above their unwavering pulse.

Tracks and Personnel

...Paper Moon

Tracks: It's Only A Paper Moon; Indian Summer; You Always Hurt The One You love; Lover Come Back To Me; If I Only Had A Brain; Lazy Bones; Anything Goes; Pretty As A Picture; If I could Be With You; Three Bears; I'll Get By; Moon Glow; Jump Up swing It; Little White Lies; Everything Happens To Me; Just You, Just Me.

Personnel: Julie O'Hara: vocals; George Washingmachine: violin, vocals; Ben Johnson: piano; Peter Baylor: guitar; Lyn Wallis: drums; Andy Ross: bass..

Smoke Rings

Tracks: I Hear Music; Body & Soul; On The Bumpy Road To Love; Living In A Dream; Clarinet Marmalade; Let's Make More Love; Smoke Rings; Stardust; Blues Stay Away; From This Moment On; Lullaby in Rhythm; Just Squeeze Me (But Don't Tease Me); Tickle-Toe.

Personnel: Julie O'Hara: vocals; Peter Baylor: guitar, vocals; Chris Tanner: clarinet, vocals; Mark Elton: acoustic bass; Raj Jayaweera: drums.

comments powered by Disqus


More Articles

Read Margrete Grarup: Denmark's jazz secret is out Multiple Reviews Margrete Grarup: Denmark's jazz secret is out
by Chris Mosey
Published: May 28, 2017
Read Tim Motzer: Wandering the Depths of Space Multiple Reviews Tim Motzer: Wandering the Depths of Space
by Geno Thackara
Published: May 22, 2017
Read Cassette Plus Download Labels Multiple Reviews Cassette Plus Download Labels
by John Eyles
Published: May 3, 2017
Read Another Timbre’s Canadian Composers Series Multiple Reviews Another Timbre’s Canadian Composers Series
by John Eyles
Published: April 22, 2017
Read 440 Keys: A Batch of Piano Delights Multiple Reviews 440 Keys: A Batch of Piano Delights
by Geno Thackara
Published: April 21, 2017
Read "Pi Recordings 2016 Releases" Multiple Reviews Pi Recordings 2016 Releases
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: December 24, 2016
Read "440 Keys: A Batch of Piano Delights" Multiple Reviews 440 Keys: A Batch of Piano Delights
by Geno Thackara
Published: April 21, 2017
Read "2016: An Ivo Perelman Marathon" Multiple Reviews 2016: An Ivo Perelman Marathon
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 3, 2017
Read "Blue Side of Lonesome: Country Crooners on BGO" Multiple Reviews Blue Side of Lonesome: Country Crooners on BGO
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 23, 2016
Read "Badbadnotgood Is Truly Goodgoodnotbad" Multiple Reviews Badbadnotgood Is Truly Goodgoodnotbad
by Dave Wayne
Published: December 20, 2016

Why wait?

Support All About Jazz and we'll deliver exclusive content, hide ads, hide slide-outs, and provide read access to our future articles.

Buy it!