Sampling online at Juno Records (a UK vinyl/ DJ specialist), is an interesting way to pass some time, check out forthcoming vinyl reissues and releases. There is a steady stream of new-to-me artists, and a lot of dance beats, meh. Every now and then something unexpected comes along. “Modern Jazz 1969-80” caught my attention, but what’s this, from Australia, the land down under? Tracks sourced from two Aussie jazz labels from the 1970s I’d not heard of, and artists I’d not heard of… but the samples caught my ear. I thought, something different, why not? Two dangerous words when put together.
Compilation: Track List
A1. Valley Of The Tweed – Bob Bertles’ Moontrane
A2. Kuri Monga Nuie (trans. “Big Black Dog”} – Bruce Cale Quintet
A3. Whirlpool – Charlie Munro Trio
B1. Circles – Allan Zavod
B2. Number One – Ted Vining Trio
B3. What The Thunder Said – Out To Lunch
Despite speaking English as a foreign language (‘strine, to the uninitiated), several of these Australian jazz musicians served their musical apprenticeship in the familiar 60s/70s music scene of the UK and US.
Bruce Cale (Tubby Hayes Quartet/ The Spontaneous Music Ensemble/ Prince Lasha); Bob Bertles (Nucleus/Neil Ardley); Allan Zavod (Frank Zappa); others, basically Aussie homegrown artists: Charlie Munro, Ted Vining, and a free jazz unit ‘Out To Lunch’
The compilation is culled from two independent Australian jazz record labels: Melbourne’s Jazznote and Horst Liepolt’s 44 Records. German-born Liepolt’s career bears similarities to Blue Note founder Alfred Lion, also a German emigrant. According to Liepolt’s 2019 obituary, he never lost his thick German accent, which was fondly imitated by friends: Tell you vot, baby, ze band voss svingkink!. In 1944, the 17 year old Liepolt first heard Louis Armstrong’s Savoy Blues, and it changed his life forever. After moving to Australia, in1957, he opened a jazz club in Melbourne, Jazz Centre 44, and later, established his jazz record label, 44 Records.
The quality of the original 1970’s recordings is very high, engineer
From the Roundtable website:
While continuing to focus on the modal forms explored in Volume 1, this second edition shifts direction, surveying other post-bop modes representative of the scene including soul jazz, avant-garde and free jazz.”
Selection 1: Bruce Kale Quartet Kuri Monga Nuie (Cale)
. . .
Original release: The Bruce Cale Quartet At The Opera House (Australia, 1979) label: 44 Records 6357 724
In 1965 bassist Bruce Cale followed the well-worn path of Australians to the Motherland, Pom Central, London, England. In the Summer of 1966 he played bass in the Tubby Hayes Quartet, credited on two Tubby Hayes Quartet recordings:
Tubby Hayes Quartet – June 23rd, 1966
Tubby Hayes (ts,fl), Mike Pyne (p), Bruce Cale (b), Tony Levin (d).
(Marshmallow CD – The Shadow Of your Smile)
Tubby Hayes Quartet – August 9th, 1966 (Ronnie Scott’s)
Tubby Hayes (ts), Mike Pyne (p), Bruce Cale (b), Phil Seamen (d).
(Candid CD – Night and Day)
Later in 1966 Cale relocated to the US, where he remained, playing as a sideman until the late 70s. Then, with jazz everywhere in retreat, Cale packed his bass and returned to Australia, to concentrate on composing and leading a jazz orchestra. A collection of his orchestral works was described by George Russell, with whom Cale had studied, as “…lyrical and elegant. His use of the harmonic palette is uniquely his own, and draws on his early training as a jazz musician. He is unafraid of beauty; his work is thrilling in its complexity and scope.”
Cale remained in Australia to the present day, now in his early eighties, at his home in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales. This recording captures just a fragment of his life’s journey, but is no less for that.
Selection 2: Ted Vining Trio Number One (Sedergreen)
. . .
ass ; roducer,
Number 1, from the LP “Number 1” (# 6357 712) 44 Records, Australia (1977)
Vinyl: Roundtable PYR02
“Pirates Press” stamped in runout. There is a Pirates Press custom vinyl manufacturing service in California, with European links to the Czech giant pressing plant GZ Media, where this LP likely this was manufactured. The centre-labels have a characteristic circular “fine-combed” vinyl surface underneath the label, which you see frequently on pressings from this giant plant. (Pressing plants should insist on attribution in the credits!)
Australia is no stranger to jazz – back in the late 50s, The Australian Jazz Quintet, featuring pianist Bryce Rohde (correct spelling), toured the US extensively, releasing six albums on the Bethlehem label. Bottom left, Three Penny Opera, posted at LJC in 2014, where I mostly exhausted my limited stock of Aussie jokes. I bought just one AJQ – which turned out to be one too many.
The pool of jazz musicians in Australia has been small, with the same few names bobbing up on each others recordings. Musically, I’m not sure there is a genre “Australian Jazz”, rather, jazz which happens to be played In Australia, by Australians, much as it might be by musicians of any other nationality, anywhere else.
A closer look at Australian jazz has revealed British Jazz has had its fair share of the wizards of Oz (including New Zealand). Seen here at work in 1975, Dave Macrae, Bob Bertles and Brian Smith. British Jazz and Australian jazz are not a million miles apart, just ten thousand, London to Australia.
“Lucky Dip” is a different method of exploring jazz. Instead of battling in an auction for something you really want, against others who also really want it, take a lucky dip, and discover something you didn’t want, because you didn’t know it existed. You have to chase what you want, and then occasionally, take pot luck.
Ema Chizit? (‘strine trans. How much is it? )
Little more than twenty quid.
(Couple of trolls have started posting negative comments at LJC under multiple false and rude names. IP address points to Tennessee, USA. Nuisance, not welcome here. Please ignore.)