Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Bertles, Bob (Robert Anthony)

Bertles, Bob (Robert Anthony), saxes, clarinet, flute, percussion, composer, arranger; b. Mayfield, NSW, Australia, 6 March 1939. He began playing professionally in 1956, and was involved with the modern scene that grew out of venues like the Mocambo in Newtown and found its focus at the El Rocco. He was active in clubs, TV and the burgeoning rock scene, including tours with Johnny O'Keefe and the bet Toys.  He went to Melbourne, mid-1963 and co-led a quartet with Keith Barr (with Brian Fagen bs, Carry Woods dms) at Fat Black Pussy Cat, Toorak, then to Adelaide where Barr and Fagen rejoined him to form a sextet (Keith Stirling, Billy Ross or Trevor Frost, Bobby Gebert) to play at the Collar, Returned to Sydney Iate '64 and, apart from casual gigs, took over the band at Sammy Lee's Latin Quarter until 1966.

In 1967, he joined Jeff St John's The Id, then after three months, began five years with Max Merritt and the Meteors, which took him to London where he become extensively involved in session work with Cliff Richards, Cilla Black, Allan Price and many others, and also joined Ian Carr's Nucleus. Forced by conflicting commitments to choose between Max Merritt and Nucleus, he chose the latter, with its hectic schedule of touring Europe; festivals, recording, TV work, and continued with this band even while based in Koln, Germany, 1975-65.

Returned to Sydney in June 1976 and joined Col Nolan, remaining to the end of 1977. During that time the band toured Australia and Asia (Thailand, Korea, Phillipines, Japan and China). Started in the jazz studies programme at NSW Conservatorium, formed Moontrain with Mike Bukovsky, Dave Panichi, Darcy Wright, Paul McNamara and Alan Turnbull, and joined John Hoffman's Big Band.

In 1980, he left for seven months in Europe on a study grant; on his return in 1981 he rejoined the jazz studies programme and went into the long running stage show, "Chicago."  He has subsequently continued to follow a varied and extremely busy schedule of concerts, festivals, session work and touring, not only in the more commercial areas but also maintaining a strong presence in strictly jazz performance.

The beginnings of Bertle's career coincided with a major development in the modern movement in Australia. Since 1986 he has been a member of Ten Part Invention, has recorded three CDs as well as touring Australia and Asia. In 1986 with Paul McNamara, he toured Singapore and Indonesia and in 1987 returned to Singapore with Kevin Hunt and Chris Qua and also toured Burma and Thailand.

In 1988, he was a member of The Australian Jazz Orchestra touring Australia and the U.S.A. 1989-93 was involved a lot of the time with the Broadway show "42nd St" taking time out for various jazz gigs with Ten Part Invention or his own groups. He worked and recorded with Johnny Nicol and in 1994, reformed quintet with Warwick Alder, Dove Levy, Chris Qua and Ran Lemke and recorded a CD, entitled "Rhythm of the Heart" which was released in 1995.

His extensive discography includes recordings with his own Moontrane, Richard Ochalski's Straight Ahead, Col Nolan Quartet, Nucleus, duo and trio album with Paul McNamara (Misty Morning & You Must Believe in Spring) several with Ten Part Invention and the Quintet's "Rhythm of the Heart" and "Cool Beans."  His most recent recording on ABC/EMI, is a collaboration with vocalist Toni Lamond and the Quartet entitled "Moonlight Saying Time."

Contact Information:
Jane March
Sydney Improvised Music Association.
612 9938 2180 t/fx or 0407 220 380

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