John Pochée, (born 21 September 1940) is an Australian jazz drummer and bandleader. As drummer, bandleader and organizer has played a major role in the history of Australian jazz.
Began in 1956 at the Mocambo and El Rocco Jazz Cellar. Active 60’s with groups in Sydney, Melbourne & Adelaide. Formed The Last Straw in 1974 and played with the Judy Bailey Quartet from 1974 to 1979. Since the early 80’s, played mainly in Bernie McGann’s trios and quartets. Toured Russia with The Engine Room in 1989 and with The Last Straw toured New Zealand in 1988, Canada in 1989 and won an ARIA award and toured Russia in 1990. With McGann Trio, performed Ronnie Scott’s London and concerts in Poland, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, India and Malaysia in 1988, Russia in 1990, Canada in 1993 and 1996. Also Toured Europe in 1996 and the USA in 1997. Won Australian Jazz Critics’ Award in 1990 and 1992. In 2004 his 10 piece group Ten Part Invention are invited to the Chicago Jazz Festival.
His career as a professional musician began in 1956. He formed The Last Straw in 1974 and also played with the Judy Bailey Quartet from 1974 to 1979. Since 1978 he has played, recorded and toured internationally with The Last Straw, The Judy Bailey Quartet, The Engine Room, Ten Part Invention and Bernie McGann’s trios and quartets. As a drummer he is an unusual stylist, playing left handed on a right handed drum kit.
The Last Straw won an ARIA award for Best Australian Jazz Record in 1990 and the Bernie McGann Trio has won 4 ARIA awards for Best Australian Jazz Record.
With his own bands and the Bernie McGann trio he has won five ARIA and five ‘MO’ awards.
John Pochée received the Australian Jazz Critic’s Award for drums in 1990 and 1992. In 1992 he also performed an improvised duet with the celebrated Classical pianist Roger Woodward AC MBE at The Sydney Spring Festival. He was elected to the Monsalvat Jazz Festival Roll of Honour in 1996.
At the Australian Jazz Awards in 2006 he was the third inductee into the Graeme Bell “Hall of Fame” for “Career Achievement.” Described as “Overseas Ambassador and Jazz Pioneer” he was nominated for a Classical Music Award in 2007 for “Long Term Contribution to the Advancement of Australian Music”.
In 2008 he delivered the sixteenth annual Bell Jazz Lecture at Waverley Library, Sydney.
On Australia Day 2014 he was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for services to the Arts as a Jazz Musician (OAM).