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Bruce Cale Quartet - On Fire - The Sydney Concert

The title says it all, such was the Bruce Cale Quartet's form this night in 1980, four months after the concert previously released as "Live".

Here was a band in perfect equilibrium: Cale's maturity balanced saxophonist Dale Barlow's youthful zeal, and the rampant adventuring of pianist/saxophonist Roger Frampton and drummer Phil Treloar balanced Cale's sometimes intricate compositions.

There was nowhere to hide when Treloar was in this mood, and you can sense all four members digging deep to sustain the intensity, even when the surface of the music drops to the pastoralism of "Listen to the Song of Life". 

"LA Trajectory" encourages a fiercer interaction, and you know what it feels like to be a tree flattened by a blasting wind, as the twin saxophones come scorching across the insistent bass and tumbling drumming.

This album is a superb document of Frampton's quirky brilliance, and contains some of Treloar's finest recorded work, as well as catching Barlow at his feistiest and Cale at his most commanding.

John Shand SMH



"Bruce Cale Quartet, consisting of Dale Barlow (flute and saxophones), Roger Frampton (piano), Bruce Cale (bass) and Phil Treloar (drums), each an exceptional creative musician.

Recorded 24 years ago at the Sydney Musicians’s Club, these performances document a unique musical journey. This recording is testimony to the kind of interpretive diversity Roger Frampton and Phil Treloar, in particular, were capable of creating.

They were possibly the only musicians in Australia at the time exploring this level of free expression and who were capable of doing so within tightly structured contexts. They created a precedent, one which a number of the younger generation players are only now exploring. Unfortunately there is very little record anywhere of this quartet’s music-making.

Tall Poppies released another performance by this group from just a week earlier from the Adelaide Festival. This is an archival document that is sure to turn heads even a quarter of a century later!

For those lucky enough to have heard and seen this quartet live, and for those that come to it new, the unique level of communication that these four share in exploring Bruce Cale’s compositions will astound and delight.

Bruce Cale Quartet - On Fire - The Sydney Concert 


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