Tony Gorman – Composer/ Bandleader
Sandy Evans – Composer/ Bandleader/Saxophonist
Phil Slater – Trumpet
Paul Cutlan – Saxophones, Bass Clarinet
Satsuki Odamura – Koto
Carl Dewhurst – Guitar
Steve Elphick – Bass
Simon Barker – Drums
Greg White – Computers, Electronics

GEST8 (Gorman Evans Sandy Tony!) is a new improvising ensemble comprising 8 of Sydneyˆs leading improvisers under the direction of Sandy Evans and Tony Gorman.

The band made its debut performance in 2004 at The Studio at The Sydney Opera House for the JazzNow festival and followed up with a concert at the Side On Café.

The music for these concerts was developed with the assistance of a Creative Development Grant from the Australia Council.

The band explores the interface between improvisation and composition in new ways; using unusual instrumental combinations to develop an original musical language informed by the collective expertise of the players. This includes jazz, free improvised music, traditional Japanese and Korean music, computer music, funk, rock, contemporary classical music, circus music and various forms of folk.

Each of the players is a virtuoso on their instrument with a strong original sound, renowned for outstanding creative ideas and conceptual breadth and imagination.

To book the band, contact Sandy > .

Review – The start of something very special

GEST8 – SIMA (side On Cafe) :: 19 November 2004

In what was only the band’s second performance, GEST8 delivered some of the most exciting music of the year. This new eight-piece ensemble is likely to be a phenomenon in Australian creative music.

It is the brainchild of Tony Gorman and Sandy Evans, the husband-and-wife team that fronted Clarion Fracture Zone for so many fruitful years, and who wanted a fresh outlet for their considerable composing skills.

The textural distinctiveness derived primarily from the incorporation of the Japanese stringed koto and bass koto of Satsuki Odamura, Evans’s colleague from the world-music oriented Waratah. The koto’s potential to be a harmonic and dynamic constraint on the music has been defied by the composers and the players, and the results were thrilling. On Gorman’s Whistling at Dawn Odamura produced bluesy exchanges with the slashing, snaking guitar of Carl Dewhurst; on Evans’s Winter Flight the koto’s effect was almost like a marimba; on Inner Space the use of microtones contributed to the gauze-like delicacy over which the horns of Evans, Paul Cutlan and Phil Slater cried softly, and around which Greg White’s laptop created an electronic aura.

White’s thoughtful contributions were another obvious aspect of the textural singularity, but to attribute this trait solely to the koto and the laptop – the two “renegade” instruments – is to fail to acknowledge the profound ability of the likes of Dewhurst and drummer Simon Barker to create unexpected roles for themselves, often shrouding the music in mystery.

In fact one of the particular joys was the occasional restoration of that long-lost and delightful confusion as to where certain sounds were coming from. Another was the astute use of the full range – in terms of pitch, timbre and emotion – of the bass clarinet on the part of both Cutlan and the composers, from mischievousness on The Emperor’s Old Clothes to sweet innocence on A Shower of Sunbeams.

The smaller combinations derived from within the ensemble provided their own joys, including the extraordinary rhythmic flexibility of the trio of Barker, Slater (trumpet) and Steve Elphick (double bass). Amid eight fine soloists, the latter two especially distinguished themselves.

Gorman and Evans have something very special here. I rate it as Evans’s best band ever, and she has had some cracking ones.

Review by John Shand, Sydney Morning Herald 23 November 2004

Tenor and soprano saxophone, composer