|Tony Gorman • composer, bandleader|
Sandy Evans • saxophonist, composer, bandleader
Simon Barker • drums
Paul Cutlan • saxophones, clarinet
Carl Dewhurst • guitarist/composer
Steve Elphick • bass
Satsuki Odamura • koto
Phil Slater • trumpet
Greg White • computer
GEST8 is the brainchild of Sandy Evans and Tony Gorman, and continues their exploration of new sounds in improvisation and jazz. Kaleidoscope is the band’s debut CD.
GEST8 is extraordinary for its instrumentation (which includes koto and electronics) and for the undeniable virtuosity of each player. These talents contribute equally to bring some marvellous original compositions to life in a distinctively Australian manner - an unusual blend of ancient and modern sounds. The medieval meets the avant-garde through this band’s creative processes, stimulating musicianship and camaraderie. This is one of the most interesting and unusual jazz performances you are likely to hear for some time.
Impossibly, this band is greater than the sum of its parts.
YouTube Clip 1
YouTube Clip 2
|Evans||A Shower Of Sunbeams|
|Evans||Winter Flight |
|Evans||Inner Space |
|Gorman||The Emperor’s Old Clothes|
|Gorman||Whistling At Dinner |
|Evans||The March Of Captain Vanstone|
|Dewhurst/Barker/Elphick/Slater||Nothing Like |
|Sink into a period Japanese move theme with the dramatic Mosaic featuring Satsuki Odamura on bass koto – what a sound! Get a touch of Africa with A Shower of Sunbeams, the ethnic rhythms are captured perfectly by Steve Elphick on bass and Simon Barker on drums. Kaleidoscope the title track is sophisticated, showcasing the talents of Paul Cutlan on clarinet and the outstanding guitarist Carl Dewhurst making some wonderful sounds on his guitar, School’s Out has a smoky bar feel with some slick trumpet from Phil Slater. This is a very interesting collection of original Australian music exploring so many styles and sounds. There are also a number of extraordinary avant-garde tracks for lovers of sound. This band is the child of composer/musicians Tony Gorman and Sandy Evans. What a remarkable mix of music they have produced.|
Jazz Action Society November 2008
These two CDs at hand have in common what one might term a “non-Western” aspect to their overall sound. Gest 8 has an excellent koto player and an international perspective, Nii Noi Nortey has a thoroughgoing African foundation to his music.
Gest 8 (1) convincingly combines rhythm, horns, electronics, and koto. All numbers are originals and successfully amalgamate tra¬ditional Japanese flavors with moments of freedom, African grooves, and mid-sized contemporary Jazz. All soloists are on the game, with Kotoist Satsuki Odamura perhaps the most exceptional, bringing classic Japanese virtuosity and adapting it to the music at hand.
One gets the idea that this is special music from the opening “Mosaic,” sporting a great bass koto solo and mumbling bass clarinet, then a drone motif everybody gets in on. “A Shower of Sunbeams” brings a koto-meets-African-sanza feel with a bright soprano solo by leader Sandy Evans highlighting the proceedings. The strength and power of the rhythm section comes to the fore on “The Emperor’s Old Clothes,” which has a funky bent and some whimsical horn counterpoint lines in an expanded tonality.
“Whistling at Dinner” takes on a slow swing groove and an interesting double solo by Odamuro’s koto and Dewhurst on electric guitar. By now you know anything can be happening with this group. “Kaleidoscope” confirms that with a long winding Bop-Bossa and the changes to “Giant Steps”! Cutlin’s Eb clarinet is snaky and hip and Dewhurst returns showing fleet facility negotiating these harmonies. Like the program as a whole, changes of pace give the listener a wide spectrum of flavors that the band has mastered and made their own.
I will certainly be listening to this disk for a long time to come. Unique is perhaps a too-often used word, but it applies to this CD completely. Recommended!
Grego Applegate Edward. cadence oct - dec 2008
This talent-loaded CD pursues a highly contemporary direction, using Satsuki Odamura’s Japanese koto - a flat bed stringed instrument - computer guru Greg White’s electronica, plus six of Australia’s top jazz performers headed by saxophonist Sandy Evans. The result is a diverse collection of compositions by Evans and producer Tony Gorman. Effective use is made of instrumental and structural variety from the Asian/electronic blend of abstractions on koto-led tracks like Mosaic or Inner Space to the fusing of koto into imaginative jazz themes in School’s Out and A Shower of Sunbeams. A jaunty humour is apparent in The Emperor’s Old Clothes and Kaleidoscope, while full reign goes to computer generation in Platform. There are ample opportunities for solos from Evans, Paul Cutlan’s especially adept clarinet and bass clarinet, Carl Dewhurst’s sympathetic guitar, and Phil Slater’s valuable trumpet, notably on Lambent. One of the most successful fusions of contemporary Australian jazz with Asian and electronic influences yet to appear.
The Australian December 2007
Adding Satsuki Odamura's koto and Greg White's computer to a jazz sextet could have just been cutely postmodern, like a restaurant serving ice-cream with lentils. But the compositions of Tony Gorman and Sandy Evans ensure GEST8's instrumentation is no idle frivolity. They are built to maximise both the potential of the players and the divergent textural possibilities, with the koto often being central.
The exceptional vitality and clarity of the recording hits you instantly, from the icy sounds of Lambent to the way the layered nuances in the breezy West African groove of A Shower of Sunbeams seem to be individually illuminated.
Ideal contexts are provided for Simon Barker's distinctive drumming in a potent engine room with Steve Elphick's sumptuously captured bass and Carl Dewhursts's sizzling guitar, while the brilliant soloists are completed by trumpeter Phil Slater and reeds-man Paul Cutlan.
Sydney Morning Herald October 2007
Gest8 (as in gestate): only a woman could lead a band with this name. And so it was. Gest8 played the final concert of the festival program on the Sunday night. Gest8 is a musical vehicle of Sandy Evans and Tony Gorman, with Sandy up front leading on stage. It involves some interesting, new, experimental sounds and approaches. As well as more traditional jazz instruments, there's a koto player and a computerist cum programmer on stage. The computer (Mac, not PC) was obviously processing sounds with echo and the like in real time. Interesting, but only obvious to me on one trumpet solo passage. I was amused by the tune Kaleidoscope, which is more in a straight modern jazz style. It's a melody overlay over the chords of Giant Steps, so now it seems we have Giant Steps changes to match Rhythm changes. Gest8 comprises Sandy Evans (tenor, sporano saxes), Paul Cutlan (saxes, bass clarinet), Phil Slater (trumpet), Satsuki Odamura (koto), Carl Dewhurst (guitar), Steve Elphick (bass), Simon Barker (drums), Greg White (computers), with compositions and shared leadership by Sandy and Tony Gorman. Interesting, often gentle, always fascinating, frequently experimental jazz.
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