TEN PART INVENTION                                                                                                                  Ten Part Invention                                                                                                                              ABC 2741221

John Pochée – dms; Roger Frampton – pno, sopranino; Steve Elphick – bass; Miroslav (Michael) Bukowsky, Warwick Alder – tpt, flg; James Greening – tbn; Bernie McGann – as; Bob Bertles – bs, as; Ken James – ts, sop, fl; Dale Barlow – ts, fl. (Sydney – Nov 1987).

And Zen Monk/So It Goes/Plain Talk/Ten Part Invention Blues/Spirit Song/Eleven Eleven/Song of Laughter/Foe Woody. [TT: 60:00.]

This CD is a re-release of the first album by this wonderful nearly big band, put out by the ABC record division in honor of the groups twenty-fifth anniversary. Originally the band was intended as a one-off for a festival in Adelaide, but this Sydney-based aggregation liked the experience so much that they decided to continue on with it whenever possible. Lead by drummer Pochée, the group is full of leaders in their own right, many of whom are great composers and arrangers. Tenor man Barlow left after this album (I think that’s when he joined Blakey’s Jazz Messengers) to be replaced by the brilliant Sandy Evans (not heard here); Roger Frampton sadly died of cancer a couple of years back, to be replaced by Paul McNamara; Bernie McGann has retired from the larger group (he still does trio and quartet gigs with Andrew Robson in his stead in the band). A remarkably stable line-up over a quarter century, wouldn’t you say? Here one gets the beginnings of a truly successful band, one worthy of placing among the best larger groups in the world… occasionally world class musicians can subsume their egos to the whole; here it’s happened for a goodly while to everyone’s benefit! Happened here on this first album, and still does whenever there’s a time when they can all get together.

This initial collection has four tunes by Bukofsky (3, 4, 7, 8), three by Frampton (1, 2, 6) and one by McGann (5), arranged by Roger Frampton: most of these pieces are still in their working repertoire on any given night. The “in house” pieces and arrangements continue to be an attraction for me with this band: all are worthy. I am especially moved by Bernie McGann’s tune and performance on “Spirit Feel”, one I’ve only heard with a small group before. The band is pretty tight in their freshman outing and they grew from there as time progressed into a true powerhouse. I was blown away the first time I heard them ca. 1996 or so at an outdoor concert in a local park – it’s a big sound that enthralls the listener. Appearances at The Chicago Jazz festival (and other Midwest locations), plus the Kennedy Center in DC in 2004, plus earlier tours of China and Southeast Asia in 1994 and 1998 have been shoe-horned into everyone’s busy schedules – this is a fine Chapter One for Ten Part Invention… you can go to the band’s website [tenpartinvention.com] for more information and records, the sales site for the ABC [shopabc.au.net] or the Rufus Records [rufusrecords.com.au] site for further information on their releases. You won’t be disappointed by any of their output. And thanks to the ABC for putting this one out once again… I could never find a used copy in my over fifteen years of record store wanderings! I saw one once, but when I went back to get it, Pochée had grabbed it as HE hadn’t a copy at the time – now I feel a certain type of completeness has arrived!! THIS certainly is jazz at its best.


published: IAJRC JOURNAL; Vol. 44, No. 3 – Sep 2011, p. 57.

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