Few players besides Pochée have been members of six pivotal Australian jazz bands: in the ’60s the Heads (subsequently the Bernie McGann Quartet); in the ’70s the Judy Bailey Quartet and the Last Straw (which continued into this century); in the ’80s the Bernie McGann Trio (and Quartet, both also running into this century) and Ten Part Invention (ditto); in the ’90s the Engine Room. Furthermore Pochée led the Straw, the Engine Room and Ten Part, the latter involving the Herculean task of keeping a 10-piece band together for three decades.
John Shand’s feature on Bryce Rohde, ‘He is a pivotal figure in Australian jazz.’
No sooner had I filed the review of the Bernie McGann album Wending on this site than McGann’s closest musical associate John Pochée phoned me with the news that our great and dear friend had gone.
‘Another thing I came to realise when I had to spend a few years really lost in my film and unable to practise music, is that when singing, because the breath is really focussed and controlled over a period, it has a meditative, almost yogic quality that is incredibly good for health and mind.’
The night of my 75th birthday party I had a corporate gig and then rushed across town to the 505 club. The place was packed and when I walked in they all started singing Happy Birthday – it was absolutely beautiful. Lots of my friends were there and Jex Saarelaht came up from Melbourne, which I thought was wonderful.
“In his last dozen years Motian began to sound like a complete neophyte who just happened to be blessed with an unerring instinct for what that music demanded, moment by moment.”