Mike Nock on his highly sought after Collector’ edition album MOVE, 55 years on
“musicians are often the worst judges of their own performances – what feels better and maybe even sounds better, to the person playing it, is not necessarily how the music is perceived by a wider impartial audience”
JK: You were only nineteen years of age at the time of recording. Tell us how the Move album came about?
MN: The trio had only been together for 6 weeks and had already begun attracting a lot of attention. Our music was very exciting and energetic, no one had heard music played like this in Australia before and we very quickly began drawing capacity crowds to our gigs. We also appeared on several TV shows like 6 O’clock Rock etc., and were generating a huge buzz around town.
JK: It must have been an exciting time in Sydney with venues like the legendary El Rocco. Some of your recollections?
MN: It was very much an exciting and transitional time, Australia was beginning to wake up and take its place on the international stage, television had only recently been introduced and a new era was dawning on many fronts. There was a strong feeling of national pride beginning to permeate everything and it seemed anything was possible. Jazz at that time enjoyed a much higher comparative profile than it does today and a much bigger percentage of the population were actively interested in the music, largely helped by the widespread media coverage the arts received. Jazz was generally accorded the same respect as classical and pop music and there was not the often overwhelming variety of possibilities we are confronted with in today’s 24 hour trending cycle. People tended to form personal emotional attachments to their favourite music rather than having choices subtly, or even not so subtly, dictated to them by commercial interests.
JK: Why do you feel this album is so special and has become a collectors album?
MN: Apart from being the first hard-swinging local modern jazz album released in Australia, it was also the first recording of my quite extensive international catalogue, which would make it attractive to many record collectors. It took me many years to appreciate how good this first album was as I always thought I played much better on the follow-up album Sittin’ In, but musicians are often the worst judges of their own performances – what feels better and maybe even sounds better, to the person playing it, is not necessarily how the music is perceived by a wider impartial audience. Plus, in spite of a couple of lapses, I now think it was a pretty successful and interesting program overall. It certainly made a big impact at the time.
JK: You once saw an original vinyl copy of the album for sale in Japan – tell us more.
MN: Some 15 years ago I saw it advertised on DIW’s website (Japan) for US$3000. At the time I was contacted by DIW’s label head to discuss the possibility of finding pristine copies here in Australia to export to Japan, plus the idea of doing a pressing here to capitalise on this potential windfall was mooted, but for various reasons this never happened.
JK: The album has now been reissued along with the follow up Sittin’ In. How did this come about?
MN: I can only surmise, although the possibility has been talked about for several years. I recently heard it had been released by a German company ( BEJAZZ!). It’s now available in Japan and the US and I believe it’ll be imported into Australia through Birdland.
JK: It has been said that the music on this album changed the face of Australian modern jazz, what do you think was that change?
MN: The trio played a very emotionally extroverted form of jazz which encouraged audiences to express their appreciation vocally, like an ‘Auzzie’ version of a black revival church meeting. As the three of us left for England though, soon after recording the 2nd album ( Sittin’ In ) any changes that came about would probably have more to do with Australia opening up to top overseas musicians, such as the Oscar Peterson Trio, Nancy Wilson, etc. But having said that I’m also pretty sure our large national profile encouraged many younger musicians to follow in our footsteps and consider playing jazz more seriously as a possible career path.
JK: How did the invite for the 1960 Jazz Festival arise?
MN: We did a short season at expatriate American promoter, Lee Gordon’s King’s Cross strip club, Primitive. When he booked Australia’s first International Jazz Festival in 1960 he included the 3 Out trio in the line-up. It was a tremendous boost to us, both artistically and commercially, as we toured all major cities, appearing on stage alongside some of the top jazz artists of the day, such as Coleman Hawkins, Sarah Vaughn, Teddy Wilson, Dizzy Gillespie, etc., which really cemented our status as a leading Australian jazz group.
JK: Any special memories of this tour?
MN: It was an unbelievable experience for me to spend time travelling with some of my musical idols and hear them every night under such circumstances. We mainly played stadiums and I remember in Sydney there was a revolving stage in the centre of the arena. Coleman Hawkins, who was no longer a young man, found this so dis-orienting he had to be assisted off the stage after finishing his set. I also remember Arvell Shaw’s bass snapping in two while he was playing on stage with Teddy Wilson’s trio.
JK: What sort of twist can audiences expect to hear at Foundry 616 when you revisit the album?
MN: We’re learning the original arrangements as a starting point to play the music from our current perspective of 55 years later. This is turning out to be a bigger challenge than I originally thought, but I’m finding it an incredibly interesting process and a huge journey of self-discovery, as the music contains most of the concepts I’ve spent my lifetime exploring ever since. It may be true one can never go home again- but maybe that’s because we really never leave it!
In 1960 the original 3 Out trio comprised , pianist Mike Nock, drummer Chris Karan, both 20 years old at the time, and 30 year old Dutch bassist Freddie Logan.
Dick Hughes wrote in the Sydney Telegraph, “MOVE remains one of the greatest jazz recordings ever made in Australia.” Both albums ( MOVE & SITTIN’ IN) have been remastered and re-released on vinyl and CD by German label BE! Jazz.
If you would like to catch a live performances, the premiere outing will be on Friday 12 Feb @ Foundry 616, with hopefully a national tour to follow.
THREE OUT ‘REDUX’, The classic MOVE album revisited
MIKE NOCK – piano
BRETT HIRST – bass
JAMES WAPLES – drums