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.
‘…cued by Komunyakaa’s use of multiple voices, Evans assembled discrete bands for each piece, including no less than 11 different lead singers, plus Michael Edwards-Stevens reading some poems as spoken word with musical accompaniment.’
Eicher was neither interfering nor austere. The mood he created was one of encouragement and calm professionalism. ‘It was very inspiring to be in that presence,’ Grigoryan says, ‘and to have four nights of being together and talking and learning.’
‘… a mood of striking conviviality.’
‘You can tell that Oh is abuzz with ideas. The diversity of her compositions and her eagerness to work with different players on each disc shouts as much…’
John Shand’s feature on Bryce Rohde, ‘He is a pivotal figure in Australian jazz.’
Katz has come up with an appealing, thoughtful and lyrical take on jazz-rock, ‘Mistral’ and ‘Working Title’ being especially strong.
This is the musical equivalent of slow food, and will amply repay the patient. Eleven years on and this Melbourne/Sydney collective restores itself to its rightful place near the pinnacle of Australian jazz.
Is this a new genre? Pub jazz-rock? I remember that hearing the Subterraneans for the first time was a hallelujah moment. Finally here was a band combining rock’s visceral energy with jazz’s lithe spontaneity without compromising either.
Amid the entertaining anecdotes we pick up on Barnard’s perspectives on his colleagues, his recordings and his idols, including Louis Armstrong, the first encounter with whom he describes as ‘possibly the most exciting thing that had ever happened to me’.