Material: Expanding the role of the double bass, Georgia Weber’s journey from punk bands in Australia to her performances with her trio The Sleeved Hearts stretches the imagination as to what this instrument can do. Her music, rooted in jazz, is the launchpad for multiple genres. Showcasing songs from her new release, Keeping It Real, Weber mixes traditional jazz, improv and post-punk elements to form her unique musical statement. The set, consisting predominately of originals with a sprinkling of jazz standards (most notably “Good Morning Heartache”), is hard to pigeonhole; it is somewhat quirky, humorous but still curiously interesting, and like many fine things it is an acquired taste. Most memorable is “A House In Just My Name,” metaphorically dealing with taking back one’s life: Somehow I can’t shake the feeling/start to healing that I should have known/that all these years was just to find that you have never grown..../ Cause I’ll be on my way/and I will find the new keys to the house in just my name. While the music has an almost formless feel, there is an underlying structure to the song.
Musicianship: A finalist in the 2015 Australian National Jazz awards, Weber plays with strong technique and fluidity and seems truly at home with her instrument. And while it all appears effortless, it is evident that numerous hours have gone into honing her craft. While the trio provides more compelling movement underneath, Weber’s more subtle vocal and bass lines, together with the backing musicians, result in polyrhythms that add more complexity to the music.
Performance: Weber’s presentation was understated but classy. She brought a certain grace to the stage in her demeanor as well as her stage garb. There was an almost extemporaneous feel to the set, which is more stylistic than actual. Adding a few more big standards or classic songs would help make her original music more accessible to a larger audience, especially since her approach has already put a spin on the music.
Summary: If you are looking for big splashy numbers or choruses you can sing to, you won’t find that in Georgia Weber’s music. You will, however, find originality, considerable musicianship and a renewed perception of what the double bass can bring to the party. Adding more known quantity will cast a wider net, while still maintaining her purity of statement.
Players: Georgia Weber, double bass, vocals; Kenji Herbert, guitar; Nathan Ellman-Bell, drums; Camille Harris, backing vocals