Various Artists

Pyramid Pieces 2: Modern Jazz in Australia 69-80 (PYR02)

New Pyramid Pieces 2: Modern Jazz in Australia 69-80 View larger

Pyramid Pieces 2: Modern Jazz in Australia 69-80

Various Artists



LPS 166671




LP 24,78 €

Following the critical acclaim of the 2020 compilation Pyramid Pieces, The Roundtable return with a second offering of modernist jazz from Australia. Another vital document further examining the nation's jazz scene during the late 1960s and 70s. A fertile period that witnessed the birth of an independent movement and the development of a distinct Australian jazz sound.

While continuing to focus on the modal forms explored in Volume 1, this second edition shifts direction slightly, this time also surveying other post-bop modes representative of the scene including soul jazz, avant-garde ballet music and Eric Dolphy-inspired free jazz.


  • SIDE A
  • A1. BOB BERTLES MOONTRANE - Valley Of The Tweed
  • From his beginnings in the jazz clubs of Sydney in the late 1950s, saxophonist Bob Bertles has had a long and varied career in both Australia and the UK. He played Rhythm & Blues in Max Merritt and the Meteors whose commercial success led him to the UK in 1969 where he established himself as an in-demand session player for artists including Cliff Richard and Cilia Black. When New Zealand saxophonist Brian Smith departed Ian Carr's Nucleus in 1973, Bertles was recommended as his replacement. Performing with the group over the next several years, he featured on all albums of the period (Under The Sun, Snakehips Etcetera and Alleycat) as well as appearing on recordings by Neil Ardley, Ramases and Alan Price. He returned to Australia in 1977 where he held a teaching position at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and formed his own group `Moontrane' named after the Woody Shaw composition. The opening piece Valley Of The Tweed was composed by pianist Paul McNamara and sourced from their debut self-titled album.
  • A2. THE BRUCE CALE QUINTET - Kuri Monga Nuie
  • Participating in both the burgeoning London jazz scene and the New York underground, Sydney double bassist Bruce Cale was at the front line of transcontinental jazz during the 1960s. Beginning his professional career as a member of the Bryce Rohde Quartet he relocated to the UK in 1965 where he found session work with Tubby Hayes and The Don Rendell / Ian Carr Quintet. He recorded with John Stevens on the seminal self-titled free jazz album by the Spontaneous Music Ensemble and appeared on Prince Lasha's UK-only album Insight. The following year he was awarded a scholarship to the Berklee College Of Music in Boston. In the US he joined John Handy's Concert Ensemble and recorded sessions for ESP Disk, which led to an association with Albert Ayler, Henry Grimes and other pioneers of avant-garde jazz. By the late 70s he led his own jazz groups in Australia and continued his education with George Russell focusing on classical composition. Selected here is a live version of his piece Kurie Monga Nuie recorded in 1978 for the ABC radio show Jazztrack.
  • A3. THE CHARLIE MUNRO TRIO - Whirlpool
  • New Zealand born saxophonist and cellist Charlie Munro holds an important yet unassuming position within the legacy of Australian jazz. Contrary to his own modernist approach to music he was already a veteran working musician by the 1960s and had spent his professional career performing light jazz in the ABC showband far removed from the avant-garde scene. It was his membership in the Bryce Rohde Quartet that would provide the opportunity to further cultivate his interest in modal music. Upon the international departure of Rohde and Bruce Cale in the mid 60s, Munro and percussionist Mark Bowden would reform the group under Munro's name and in 1967 release the landmark Australian jazz recording, Eastern Horizons. Showcased here is a workshop recording titled Whirlpool which was later reworked and included on their follow-up album Countdown, a third-stream conceptual ballet from 1969. Also featuring on this recording was Neville Whitehead, a bassist who would later find success in the UK playing on notable albums by Neil Ardley (Greek Variations), Keith Tippett (Dedicated To You, But You Weren't Listening) and Robert Wyatt (The End Of An Ear).
  • SIDE B
  • B1. ALLAN ZAVOD - Circles
  • Pianist and composer Allan Zavod led a musical career which transversed continents and genres. Based in both Australia and the US simultaneously, his music spanned a range of musical styles including jazz, rock, film scoring and orchestral music. In 1970 his talent was observed by the jazz legend Duke Ellington during a Melbourne tour which led to an opportunity for the young pianist to receive a scholarship to study at the Berklee College Of Music. By mid-decade Zavod was well entrenched in session and television work in Los Angeles, working with musicians including Maynard Ferguson, Billy Cobham, Gary Burton, Jean-Luc Ponty and perhaps most notably as a member of Frank Zappa's band. Returning to Australia after a 30 year career in the US he continued to work in television scoring, music education and composing large scale symphonic works. Opening Side B is the track Circles taken from his 1980 album What's New! In 2017, in recognition to his contribution to Australian music he was posthumously awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM).
  • B2. THE TED VINING TRIO - Number One
  • Drummer Ted Vining's name is synonymous with modern jazz in Melbourne. One of the key musicians to emerge from Horst Liepolt's Jazz Centre 44 in St Kilda, he was a long-standing member of two significant Melbourne groups of the period, The Alan Lee Quartet and The Brian Brown Quintet. His powerhouse drumming was the hallmark of their most acclaimed recordings, notably Brown's iconic Carlton Streets and Lee's 1973 self titled album featuring the deep rendition of Lesley Duncan's Love Song. Forming The Ted Vining Trio in 1970 he recorded a string of now collectable soul-jazz albums throughout the decade for Australia's two leading independent jazz labels, 44 Records and Jazznote. His career has continued to the present day leading various groups including Musiikki Oy and Blow, often alongside friend and pianist Bob Sedergreen. The featured track Number one is a Sedergreen composition taken from his 1977 trio album of the same name.
  • B3. OUT T LUNCH - What The Thunder Said
  • Inspired by the Eric Dolphy album of the same name, Out to Lunch was a short-lived free jazz trio that performed and recorded in Sydney during the mid-1970s. One of the key groups that represented a new wave of Australian progressive jazz bands that was promoted and recorded by Horst Liepolt for his '44 Records' imprint, the band included percussionist Barry Woods, Craig Benjamin on saxophone/flute and John Conley on electric bass. Together they sought to challenge the accepted structure and rules of jazz improvisation. Benjamin composed the material for the trio's_sole 1976 album which also featured a guest appearance by Jazz Co/Op pianist Roger Frampton. Closing the set is an abridged version of the piece What The Thunder Said, a section of a jazz suite based on the T.S. Eliot poem The Wasteland.