Sandy Evans Trio

Sandy Evans Trio | image by Jack Majarian

Sandy Evans saxophones, composer
Brett Hirst bass (2003-present)
Toby Hall drums (2001-present)

‘Sandy Evans is a real knockout’

Sandy Evans is renowned for leading a series of saxophone trios throughout her career, featuring some of the most outstanding bass players and drummers in Australian jazz. Her current trio with Brett Hirst (bass) and Toby Hall (drums) has been together since 2003. They have a unique sound and intuitive rapport that has been enthusiastically received by audiences and media in Australia and internationally.

Evans’ first recording with her trio featuring Hugh Fraser (bass, 1985-1986) and Tony Buck (drums, 1985-1986), was from the Esso Australian Jazz Summit, recorded at Bondi Beach in 1986. This performance was broadcast on ABC TV in a series hosted by Don Burrows.

"This is world class contemporary music performed by some of the very best exponents in this country"

Evans returned to the trio format in 2001 with Brendan Clarke (bass, 2001-2003) and Toby Hall (drums). Since then the trio has toured extensively in Australia and internationally.  International highlights have included JazzFest Berlin, The Pori Jazz Festival, Montreal Jazz Festival, Edinburgh Festival, Stadtgarten, Cologne, Unterfahrt, Munich, Bimhuis, Amsterdam and Jazzclub Neue Tonne, Dresden

The trio has performed at many of the leading jazz organisations and festivals in Australia including – Sydney Improvised Music Association (SIMA), the Orange Winter Jazz Festival, the Perth Jazz Society, Jazz South Australia, The Melbourne Jazz Co-operative, the Morpeth Jazz Festival, The Wangaratta Jazz Festival, The Bellingen Jazz Society, The Jazzgroove Association, Devonport Jazz Weekend, Bungendore Jazz Festival and The Valley Jazz Festival in Brisbane. 

‘…The trio’s members share a penchant for edgy compositions, yet manage to negotiate even the trickiest harmonic and rhythmic puzzles with ease – and palpable pleasure.’

Toby Hall image by Jack Majarian
Toby Hall image by Jack Majarian

A stunning, tight improvising unit that thrills, inspires and delights.

Brett Hirst | image by Jack Majarian
Brett Hirst | image by Jack Majarian

The trio’s 2002 debut album Not In The Mood (Newmarket Music) was an absolute delight for the country to enjoy. The album comprises of original compositions, aside from a traditional Korean chant by Zen master Hye Yeon Sun Sa and John Coltrane’s “Peace on Earth”.

The sheet music for the title track, ‘Not in the Mood’, is included in New Standards: 101 Lead Sheets by Women Composers, This is a ground-breaking publication led by Terri Lyne Carrington, and published by Berklee and Hal Leonard.

"The trio has sparked a new raft of material from Evans, who beyond her prowess on tenor and soprano, has long been a pre-eminent composer.”

Their EP, The Edge of Pleasure was released in 2009. The poem Coffee with Miles by Geoff Page inspired the album’s title, and it featured art by Emma Jones as the cover.

“These pieces exemplified a strength of hers which is all the more valuable in the trio context: the sheer breadth of her compositional ideas.”

"They are an important voice in Australian contemporary music and deserve the opportunity for more exposure on the international stage."

Sandy Evans Trio with guests

The flexibility of the trio format, and the adaptability of Hall and Hirst, have made the trio ideal for collaborations with guest artists. Guest artists have included tabla player Bobby Singh, vocalist/sitar player Sarangan Sriranganathan, pianist Alister Spence, trumpet player Phil Slater, trombonist James Greening and pianist Andrea Keller.

When The Sky Cries Rainbows

In response to Tony Gorman’s battle with multiple sclerosis, Evans drew inspiration from the rainbow’s symbolism of finding hope amidst adversity, to produce the album ‘When The Sky Cries Rainbows’. In this recording Evans intricately weaves a tapestry of emotions, reflecting life’s diverse shades and states of mind.


Kapture is a tribute to South African freedom fighter, Ahmed Kathrada. The work was commissioned by renowned choreographer/dancer Liz Lea and was initially presented at dance performances by Liz at the Street Theatre in Canberra. Bobby Singh and Liz collaborated with the Sandy Evans Trio to develop the work. The music is a response to some of the extraordinary stories from Kathrada’s writings about his experiences in prison, and his visionary, powerful and profound philosophy and life force. The anti-apartheid activist was one of Nelson Mandela’s closest colleagues and a fellow Robben Island prisoner. Liz Lea’s movement, choreography, and her generous, imaginative and emotive interpretations of Kathrada’s experience were integral to the musical outcomes

"...bluesy and Indian elements seamlessly intermingling in…a significant breakthrough in her work."

Following the success of the music for the dance performance, the score was expanded to include guest vocalist Sarangan Sriranganathan and several new compositions.

Bobby Singh image by Jack Majarian
Bobby Singh image by Jack Majarian

‘There is a sense of effortlessness that emanates from this music: perhaps it emerges from the (sometimes simultaneous) combination of two modes or approaches: simple, beautiful phrasing and lyricism versus gloriously hard and technically demanding rhythmic flourishes…. ‘