Norah Jones meets Brazilian grooves in Georgie Aué's new album


Photo by Jessica Carlton

Genre-blending Australian pianist, vocalist, and songwriter Georgie Aué (pronounced a-way) will next month release her third album ‘Desert Cry’ (out on 16 September) – a unique melting pots of styles fusing jazz and blues with Brazilian jazz – including a launch show at The Ellington Jazz Club on Sunday 18 September.


The endless days of summer in Western Australia, the ups and downs of love in all forms of relationships, and a passion for the natural environment were all inspiration for the new record. Written and recorded in Perth and her hometown of Adelaide, the album was four years in the making.


“This record has challenged me in different ways,” Georgie says. “It feels a lot more fun and joyful than my previous work and it’s a good representation of who I am as a musician and even my own personality.


“Over time, I've risen in confidence and matured my sound and I think this collection of songs demonstrates that.”


Georgie headed into the studio last January – during a Perth heatwave – to record the album with Jarrad Payne from Wizard Tone Studios. She brought in a selection of Perth’s premier jazz musicians including Jeremy Thomson (guitar), Zac Grafton (bass) and Daniel Susnjar (drums), as well as a horn section made up of Jessica Carlton (trumpet/flugel), Tom Greble (saxophones) and Will Pethick (trombone) who all play on the album.


Drawing on the influences of Antônio Carlos Jobim, Elis Regina, Diana Krall, Stevie Wonder and Norah Jones, the record features sweet jazz harmonies and Latin American rhythms – despite the fact she hasn’t yet travelled to Brazil!


“I love the rhythm and at times, dense textures of Brazilian music,” Georgie says. “As a child and teenager, all I wanted to do was dance. When I started learning about jazz, the music that spoke most to me was Brazilian jazz – it’s so rich in rhythm, texture, and harmony. It made the most sense to me to listen and play this music.”


When Georgie isn’t performing her original music in jazz clubs or playing Fringe shows and tributes to Norah Jones and The Beatles around Australia, she is the Festival Producer for WA’s leading jazz showcase - the Perth International Jazz Festival. And she’s grown up with it too.


Her father, jazz arranger John Aué was a long-time bass and arranging teacher in the Elder Conservatorium’s jazz program, who she enlisted, along with award-winning trumpeter and composer Max Grynchuk, for arrangements on five of the tracks.


Her father has been a key influence in Georgie’s musical journey, philosophies, and approach to composing and recording.


“Things that I thought were fairly normal, I now look back on and realise how special and different it was – growing up in a musical family,” she says. “Some of my favourite memories are of my parents having their musician friends over to our house, which usually started at lunch and went into the wee hours of the morning, and inevitably the guitar came out or their friends brought their instruments, mum would sing and usually it was in the Brazilian or jazz styles, sometimes South African.


“Other memories include being in the orchestra pit during musicals because Dad was playing and occasionally, I was allowed to go along and sit with him.”


Opening track, Come to Brazil, is Georgie’s personality on a plate - a million things going on at once with an infectious groove and many percussive layers. This is where the Brazilian influence characterised by rhythm and a range of textures rings through with a jazzy blend of breezy bossa nova and swinging samba.


Title track, Desert Cry, came about while singing in the car on a late-night drive on the freeway. “Over time, the composition developed layers of rhythm, scat singing, a jumpy beat of percussive melody, accompanied by guitar and the deep sounds of the bass, interluded by a solo from the soprano sax,” she explains. “The brass section with Jessica Carlton on trumpet and Will Pethick on trombone, sets off the sumptuous harmony to the contrast of the swaying rhythm.”


This new album invites the listener to dive in and discover something new with each listen. The harmonic twists, the sparkling responses from the musicians; the vibrancy, texture and rhythms of Latin America crossed with the tenderness and storytelling of American songwriter Norah Jones.


“The album's approach is of each tune being its own unique offering - a work that stands on its own to get lost in,” she says. “Lyrically, it’s centred around the many facets of love, including that all-important first love, lost love, as well as an appreciation for the enduring strength yet fragility of our natural environment.”


‘Desert Cry’ by Georgie Aué will be released digitally and on CD on 16 September 2022. The album is being launched on Sunday 18 September at The Ellington Jazz Club, Perth with a 9-piece band including special guests Victoria Newton & Owen Measday on backing vocals. TICKETS


The album was funded in part by the Western Australian Department of Local Government, Sport, and Cultural Industries (DLGSC).

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