Review of Bent Grooves CD Launch, Sound Lounge, Sydney, 9th May 2008

Such was a celebration of various cultures through regional music, a reflection of the endless pursuit of diversity for Kim Sanders. Whilst performances sharing the theme of diversity have not gone un-acknowledged over the past decade, it felt to me like the shackles of the Howard monoculture had finally been broken during this performance which represented more than just creative music but friendship, inclusiveness, respect and genuine inter-cultural collaboration. Sanders might look like a gypsy with his long greying locks, his Bohemian garb and his goat skin bags but his manner and his dialogue is as Aussie as the next bloke and this fact almost defies the reality of his ability to converse in several languages across the Asian, European and African continents, let alone his ability to foster musical conversations in as many languages using over 14 wind instruments.
Along with Kim Sanders, the core quartet of the ‘Friends’ include Sandy Evans tenor and soprano saxophones, Bobby Singh tabla and Steve Elphick double bass. They opened with Heyamoli a Northern Turkish lament which saw Kim playing Turkish gaida (bagpipe) and Sandy in unison on tenor.
Next they performed the suite A Journey in Saba Makam. The ney is a sufi flute made of bamboo which Sanders freely improvised the first movement Bas Taksim over a singular Elphick drone followed by the additive of Evans and Singh. Such was Evans sensitivity on tenor during the second movement Saba Nefes I that her shadowing was simply an additional tonal flavour of the smokey fluted melody. The final movement showcased the awe-inspiring talent of Singh on tabla.
Sanders who is also a keen surfer, at one time took up the boogie board instead and soon found that serious surfers refer to them as a Speedbump but what commenced as a gypsy jam ended up a Congolese groove thanks mainly to the synchronicity of both Singh and Elphick.
Yet another continent was thrown into the mix with the addition of Chilean Carlos Villanueva and his Andean charango playing the flamenco tinged The Bad Bodgie Bulerias. With an almost clenched fist, Villanueva’s finger nails rapidly raked the repeated four chords of this piece on this instrument of only ukelele dimensions. By now parts of the capacity crowd were shrieking.
Kay Yagar which is interpreted as ‘snow is falling’ was a further showcase of Sanders skills; this time on the double reeded flute, the mey. His circular breathing and tonguing of this instrument created a spellbinding vibrato which preceded his swap to the bagpipes. Another dimension of this piece was the addition of Llew Kiek from the renowned band Mara! on the baglama or Turkish lute.
Istanbul Blues allowed Sandy Evans on tenor a precursor of what was to come on Oi Havar where she simply soared, taking the audience with her on a carpet ride of freedom and joyous expression.
When George Doukas arrived on stage the battle of the bouzouki’s began with Kiek choosing his own richly decorated axe. While Doukas proved a virtuoso, nothing was going to prepare us for the arrival of the final friend Bobby Dimitrievski on clarinet who displayed an agility on the instrument which is rarely witnessed. Following a standing ovation the group finally returned to the stage for a fitting finale. But what was probably the most musically intuitive passage of the performance came after Evans (during her solo) cried to Dimitrievski to ‘join in Bobby’. The result was a lesson to us all in genuine conversation where listening is just as important as speech when the magic of their respective instruments interwove a singular dialect of perfect harmony.
This was nothing less than a triumphant performance by Kim Sanders and Friends

– Peter Wockner, Jazz and Beyond, May 08 (www.jazzandbeyond.com.au)

Kim Sanders and Friends

Kim also works with a variety of small ensembles, known collectively as Kim Sanders & Friends. The group can be tailored in size, personnel and repertoire to suit particular events. The friends include:

Bobby Singh

Bobby Singh

Bobby Singh’s talent was recognised at an early age by Pandit Nikhil Ghosh, and became a student of his senior disciple Aneesh Pradhan, who remains his guru. Bobby is now a “must see” performer on the world music circuit as well as the Indian Classical scene. He has performed with Ashok Roy, Slava Grigoriyan, Joseph Tawadross and many cross-cultural ensembles including Flamenco Dreaming and The Bird. He currently works with Circle of Rhythm and Dha, amongst others.

Bobby Dimitrievski

Bobby Dimitrievski

Australian-born Macedonian clarinettist/saxophonist Blagojce (Bobby) Dimitrevski has degrees from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music but has also learned the old-fashioned way from his father Ivan. He has performed extensively in the Macedonian scene in Australia, with Balkan folk/jazz ensemble Mara! and with Nadya and the 101 Candles Orchestra. He can blister the paint off the walls.

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Steve Elphick

Double-bassist Steve Elphick has been for many years regarded as one of Australia’s   most creative improvising musicians. He has made many overseas tours with folk-jazz group Mara! and played with jazz greats including Lee Konitz and Steve Lacey. In Australia he has performed and recorded extensively with cutting-edge improvising bands including The World According to James, The Andrew Robson Trio, Ten Part Invention, Bernie McGann Trio and The Umbrellas.

Llew Kiek

Another Australian World Music pioneer, Llew Kiek (bouzouki, bağlama, guitar, tambura, keyboards) has recorded 10 albums and performed in 20 countries with ARIA-winning folk-jazz group Mara! In Australia he has worked with The Bisserov Sisters, Tenzing Tsewang, Silvia Entcheva, Martenitsa, Nakisa, the Renaissance Players, Meryl Tankard Australian Dance Theatre and singers Jeannie Lewis and Margret RoadKnight. Australian World Music Instrumentalist of the year 1999.

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Sandy Evans

Saxophonist, composer and three-time ARIA-winner Sandy Evans is one of Australia’s leading performers in improvised music. She has played and recorded extensively in Australia and overseas the own Sandy Evans Trio, Clarion Fracture Zone, The catholics, austraLYSIS, the Australian Art Orchestra, MARA!, Bernie McGann, Waratah and many visiting American artists. Named Australian Jazz Artist of the Year at the 2003 Bells Awards. She is also heavily involved with Southern Indian Classical music.

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George Doukas

Singer, composer and master of the bouzouki, baglama, tzouras and guitar, George Doukas has performed with such Greek luminaries as Sakellariou, Doukissa and Floriniotis as well as a multitude of local Greek artists. He was musical co-director for internationally-screened Concert 2000. In recent years he has has been involved in several exciting collaborations with musicians from a variety cultures, as in his own band Balcano.

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Toby Hall

Drummer Toby Hall has played and recorded with outstanding Australian improvisers including Mike Nock, Lloyd Swanton, Bernie McGann, Alister Spence and Sandy Evans as well as leading his own groups. He has also played with many visiting performers including jazz vocal legend Sheila Jordan. Montreal Jazz Festival, North Sea Jazz Festival, New York’s famous Knitting Factory – Toby’s been there, done that.

Sawung Jabo

Sawung Jabo

Reformed rock star, dancer, singer, multi-instrumentalist, composer, choreographer, actor, producer and social activist Sawung Jabo is well-versed in traditional Indonesian music and dance as well as contemporary forms. He is highly respected for the energy, beauty and passion of his words and music. He has released twelve top-selling albums in Indonesia, and performed in Japan, Korea and the US.

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Blair Greenberg

Multi-instrumentalist Blair Greenberg has played guitar, steel drums, djembe, didgeridoo, marimba, darabukka and all kinds of percussion (not to mention electric neck) in many countries with Trio Dingo, Epizo Bangoura’s African Express, Muhammad Bangoura, Pape Mbaye, Zulya Kamalova, Christine Anu, The Flying Fruitfly Circus, the Electra String Quartet, Jeannie Lewis and the very strange Paranormal Music Society.

Davood Tabrizi

Davood Tabrizi

Davood Tabrizi studied percussion and Persian string instruments at Tehran Conservatorium and the Uni of Tehran before coming to Australia in 1979. He has performed in many pioneering cross-cultural bands including Tansey’s Fancy and Nakisa, toured America with his own group Far Seas, and has written award-winning scores for theatre productions and films including The Navigator and Serenades.

Linda Marr

Linda Marr

Singer Linda Marr is one of the world music and a cappella scene’s most respected and talented personalities. Acknowledged as a pioneer in bringing world music to a wider audience in Australia, Linda has appeared on more than 20 CDs and toured extensively in Australia and overseas. A founding member of Musica Linda, Blindman’s Holiday and Keklik Aile, Linda has also performed with Tokakros, Cumana and with Kim in Nakisa.

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Tony Lewis

Singapore born percussionist Tony Lewis has collaborated with leading musicians from many cultures, including Aboriginal dancer/musician Matthew Doyle, koto-player Satsuki Odamura, harmonic singer David Hykes and sitarist Raj Kumar Sharma. He has also worked with Southern Crossings, Aboriginal Islander Dance Theatre, Nakisa, Waratah and Dhamor Percussion. He has studied and performed in Africa, Asia and the Pacific.

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Peter Kennard

Peter Kennard has studied drumming in West Africa and performed overseas with Colin Offord’s Great Bowing Company, the Turkish State Theatre, Stalker Theatre Company, Sirocco andCathie O’Sullivan. In Australia he has played with sarod virtuoso Ashok Roy, Lulo Reinhardt, Moussa Diyakite, the Flying Fruitfly Circus, Chai Chang Ning, Flamenco Dreaming, Heval and Brassov.

Ron Reeves

Ron Reeves

Percussionist Ron Reeves lived and studied for many years in Indonesia, and specialises in traditional instruments from West Java and South India. In a long and varied career he has played with the Trilok Gurtu, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Nigeria’s Lebe Olarinjo Masqueraders, the Karnataka College of Percussion, Billy Cobham, Hossam Ramzy,  heavy plastic band AC/PVC and with Kim in GengGong and Trio Dingo. He leads Indonesian-based groups Warogus and Earth Music.

Peter Boyd

Boyd

Enigmatic Kiwi Boyd is the composer of the Martian National Anthem. He also plays  bass and baritone saxophones with intergalactic intensity. He has performed with Mic Conway’s National Junk Band, Jackie Orszcaszki’s Budget Orchestra, Brassov and The Monday Club. The only member of Kim Sanders & Friends weighing less than his instrument, he is a genuine saxophone heavyweight.

Mark Szeto

Hong Kong born Mark Szeto plays double bass and fretless electric bass in a variety of styles. He has performed with Monsieur Camembert, the Sydney Opera House Orchestra and Sydney Chamber Orchestra.  His own band, Low Flying Hippies, released their debut CD Adventure Before Dementia in 2009.

Sam Golding

Multi-instrumentalist Sam Golding (trumpet, tenor horn, trombone,  sousaphone,  flutes, ukelele) performs in many musical settings from Senegalese Mbalax through traditional music from the Balkans, jazz small groups, reggae and cabaret. He is currently working hard with the bands Darth Vegas, The Glorious Sousaphonics, The Fantastic Terrific Munkle, Teranga, Tango Saloon and The Mango Balloon.

Mustafa Karami

Kurdish Iranian Mustafa Karami studied dhaf (traditional frame drum) at Karkars Music College in Tehran and is now recognised as a master of the instrument. He was declared Best Dhaf Player in Iran at the Festival of Dhaf in 2005,6,7. He also sings and plays oud.  Mustafa has performed throughout Iran with ensembles such as Madakto, Javidan, Bamdad and Salmak.  In Australia he has performed with Kim in Davood Tabrizi’s Far Seas.

James Greening

One of Australia’s leading improvising musicians, James Greening has been widely praised for his work on trombone, pocket trumpet, sousaphone and bass with Ten Part Invention, Wanderlust, The catholics, The Umbrellas, The Australian Art Orchestra, Ruby Hunter and Archie Roach, the  Sruthi Laya Ensemble, Matthew Doyle and various strange ensembles led by the late, great Jackie Orszaczky. He leads his own band The World According to James.

“What I wouldn’t give to have friends like these!” – Jaslyn Hall, ABC Limelight Magazine

“In a perfect world, these artists would figure among out national treasures”Michael Rofe, Weekend Australian

“The music is sometimes mystical…but can also be full of tension and real virtuousity” – Eelco Schilder, Folkworld (UK/Germany)