Jazz drummer and bandleader John Pochée (b. 1940) began his career as a professional musician began in 1956 and went on to play a major role in Australian jazz.
Self-taught Pochée developed a unique technique of leading with his left hand on a right-handed kit. Since 1978 he 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.
Pochée received 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.'
Articles by and about John Pochée
15 Aug 2007 2007 Classical Music Awards by Danielle Carey
The new music scene is buzzing with anticipation. In just under four weeks, composers, music educators, performers, arts administrators, and writers from across Australia will gather in Sydney to celebrate the thriving talent and artistic excellence in our community at the 2007 Classical Music Awards.
3 Aug 2017 2017 Art Music Awards: John Pochée to receive the Distinguished Services Award by Australian Music Centre
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.
Events featuring John Pochée
26 Mar 2011 NSW: Ten Part Invention - 25th Anniversary
20 Mar 2010 NSW: Ten Part Invention
26 Sep 2009 NSW: Ten Part Invention