Bruce Cale Quartet
On Fire – The Sydney Concert (1980)
(Tall Poppies Records)

Rating: ****1/2

It’s 29 years since this concert was recorded by the NSW Jazz Action Society at the Sydney Musicians’ Club. A long time emerging from the archives, it’s an important, historic album and the record company has overcome technical problems to reproduce a live recording of acceptable quality.

The compositions are by bassist/leader Bruce Cale or the late genius Roger Frampton on piano, and the musical concepts are as fresh as this morning’s croissants. Dale Barlow, a virtuosic 19-year-old is on saxophones and flute, with legendary drummer Phil Treloar adding immense excitement, rhythmic integration and percussive embroidery.

Bindo, at an off-the-metronome tempo has Barlow’s tenor in full flight, Frampton’s piano speeding melodically and Treloar’s cymbal sticks working at wrist shattering pace.

Frampton’s beautiful ballad, Offering has Barlow on soprano while the composer’s piano explores a lyrical landscape, loaded with serendipity. This earlier concert, well ahead of its time, has become more accessible over the intervening years.


This review first appeared in The Australian and is republished with permission.

Hash Varsani is the owner of The Jazz Directory, a network of sites related to jazz, travel and everything else he loves. He also runs a selection of jazz related sites including Jazz Club Jury, a jazz club and festival review site. Check out his Google+ Profile, to see what else he's up to...probably setting up another website from one of his many passions.