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3 August 2017

2017 Art Music Awards: John Pochée to receive the Distinguished Services Award

John Pochée Image: John Pochée  

Legendary jazz drummer and bandleader John Pochée OAM will receive the Distinguished Services to Australian Music honour at the 2017 Art Music Awards on Tuesday 22 August at the City Recital Hall in Sydney.

Pochée has played a major role in the history of Australian jazz. His love of music came from his mother, who had many big band 78s to play on the family wind-up gramophone. When he eventually acquired a drumkit, the self-taught Pochée developed a unique technique of leading with his left hand on a right-handed kit. His career as a professional musician began in 1956 and hasn't stopped. Since 1978 John Pochée has played, recorded and toured internationally with the Last Straw, the Judy Bailey Quartet, the Engine Room, Ten Part Invention, as well as the late Bernie McGann's trios and quartets.

Over the years he has also worked prolifically as a freelance professional musician. He toured Australia and New Zealand with Shirley Bassey as her personal drummer in 1969 and 1970, and was Musical Director for the successful show group the Four Kinsmen in the late 1970s and the 1980s. He has influenced Australian contemporary jazz by leading and playing with important jazz groups, including the Heads, the Ken James Reunion Band, the Chuck Yates trio, the Peter Boothman group, and vocalists Joe Lane and Susan Gai Dowling. His unique jazz stylings have earned him the Australian Jazz Critics Award for drums in 1990 and 1992. He was awarded the Graeme Bell Hall of Fame Career Achievement Award at the Australian Jazz Awards in 2006. On Australia Day 2014 John Pochée was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia.

Composer and saxophonist Sandy Evans says of Pochée: 'John is a dynamic, passionate, original, powerful, inventive, swinging drummer; a visionary and enthusiastic bandleader. John's commitment to creating opportunities for the performance and recording of contemporary Australian jazz has been outstanding. He has worked with incredible determination, vision and expertise to make Australia a place where jazz and improvised music can thrive. John has been very proactive in his support of female jazz musicians and deserves special acknowledgement for this.'

Evans will join the Art Music Awards as a presenter alongside Paul Mason (the director of music at the Australia Council for the Arts), Marshall McGuire (harpist and director of artistic planning at Melbourne Recital Centre) and the Texan adventurer-composer Stephen Lias, among others.

Live performances, curated by pianist Gabriella Smart, will feature the Sydney Chamber Choir, the Adelaide Chamber Singers' soloist Karina Jay; Art Music Awards finalist Cat Hope performing with cellist Tristen Parr; Simon Barker, Stu Hunter and Carl Dewhurst; and Andrea Keller - also a finalist - performing with Gian Slater and Shannon Barnett. In a tribute to John Pochée, Sandy Evans will bring together the legendary 10-piece ensemble Ten Part Invention. The live entertainment will be rounded off by Mark Atkins, Stephen Pigram, Greg Sheehan, Erkki Veltheim, Stephen Magnusson, Tristen Parr and finalist Tos Mahoney.

> Find out more about the Art Music Awards and this year's finalists.

Further links

John Pochée - Wikipedia

Read a profile article about John Pochée by John Shand (14 March 2014, australianjazz.net)

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