Dr Sandy   Evans

Dr Sandy Evans


Arts,Design & Architecture
School of the Arts and Media

Sandy is a saxophonist, composer, educator and music researcher with a passion for improvisation and new music.

She has played with and written for some of the most important groups in Australian jazz since the early 1980s, toured extensively in Australia, Europe, Canada and Asia, and been featured on over 40 albums. She leads the Sandy Evans Trio and Sextet, and co-leads Clarion Fracture Zone and GEST8. She is a member of Mara!, The catholics, the Australian Art Orchestra (AAO), Ten Part Invention, austraLYSIS, Friends of Kim Sanders, Atma Blu, Waratah, Andrew Robson’s Tallis project, Ben Walsh’s Orkestra of the Underground and SNAP. Sandy recently led her own group at the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival, toured Europe with Mara!, was a featured soloist in Lloyd Swanton’s widely acclaimed Ambon project, and performed with Alon Ilsar.

Sandy has an extensive composition portfolio and has received many commissions from leading jazz, improvising and new music ensembles. Recent commissions include a suite in honour of legendary Australian saxophonist the late Bernie McGann, and a suite Rockpool Mirror based on photographs by Tall Poppies’ Belinda Webster. Wesleyan University Press released Sandy’s composition Testimony, a major work about the life and music of Charlie Parker with poetry by the Pulitzer Prize winning American poet Yusef Komunyakaa, in the US in 2013. Sandy composed Kali and The Time of Change, the title track of The Sirens debut CD.

Sandy has a keen interest in Indian classical music. She collaborates regularly with Sydney-based Indian musicians Sarangan Sriranganathan and Bobby Singh and recently released the CD Kapture, a tribute to South African freedom fighter Ahmed Kathrada. ‘…a masterfully performed fusion of jazz and Indian classical musics… the improvisations exemplify the virtuosic energy that is a key resonance between jazz and Indian classical music.’ Cummins 1/6/15 www.musictrust.com.au

Her CD Cosmic Waves, featuring South Indian mridangam virtuoso Guru Kaaraikkudi Mani and Sruthi Laya, is released in India on Underscore Records. She began collaborating with Aneesh Pradhan and Shubha Mudgal during a Churchill Fellowship visit to India in 2014 and is currently co-composing ‘Bridge of Dreams’ with them for Sirens Big Band.

She has played with and written for Great White Noise, The Bruce Cale Orchestra, the KMA Orchestra, Kristen Cornwell Quintet, the Bernie McGann Trio, Judy Bailey, the Gai Bryant Quartet and Jeremy Sawkins. Her group Women and Children First was a ground-breaking ensemble during the 1980s, undertaking an epic seven month tour by bus around the whole of Australia. While living in Scotland in 1987, she played with the saxophone quartet SAXTC and the rhythm and blues band Tam White and The Dexters.

She has toured extensively in Australia, Europe, Canada and Asia. Some highlights have been the Chicago Jazz festival, the North Sea Jazz Festival, WOMAD, the Brecon Festival, the Outside In festival, the Edinburgh Festival, Montreal and Vancouver Jazz festivals, the Knitting Factory (NY) the Wangaratta Jazz Festival, the Manly Jazz Festival, Sydney and Melbourne Jazz Festivals, the Brisbane Biennial, the Adelaide Festival, Jazz Yatra (India), the Sidmouth Folk Festival and the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival. She has toured Russia, China, Estonia, Lithuania, Denmark, Holland, Italy, Germany, Finland, Singapore, Taiwan, India, Fiji, Western Samoa, Thailand, Indonesia, South Korea and Hong Kong. She has been featured in several television programs for the ABC and Scottish television as well as radio broadcasts on the ABC, BBC and WDR (Germany). She appears in the Australian jazz documentaries 'Beyond el Rocco' and 'Dr Jazz'.

Book Chapters, Journal Articles and Academic Papers 


  • Book chapter: ‘Expressive Identity in the Voices of Three Australian Saxophonists: McGann, Sanders and Gorman’ in: Antipodean Riffs, Essays on Australasian Jazz, Johnson, Bruce. Sheffield, South Yorkshire: Equinox Publishing Ltd. 2016.



  • Journal article: Expressive Identity in the Voices of Three Australian Saxophonists: McGann, Sanders and Gorman, Jazz Research Journal www.equinoxpub.com/Jazz



  • Book chapter in Testimony: A Tribute to Charlie Parker: with new and selected jazz poems, Komunyakaa, Yusef. Middletown, Connecticut: Wesleyan University Press; 2013.
  • Presented a paper Is it Jazz, or is it Indian and Wrong? at the Ownership and Creative Practice in World Music Colloquium, Macquarie University
  • Co-presented a paper Testimony: A Tribute to Charlie Parker with Yusef Komunyakaa at Wesleyan University Music Colloquium, US
  • Presented a paper Meetings At The Table of Time: An Australian Saxophonist and Carnatic Improvisers in Dialogue at Guelph Jazz Festival Colloquium, University of Guelph, Canada
  • Presented a paper Identity and the Performance of Carnatic Jazz Intercultural Music at Macquarie University, MMCCS


  • Panel discussion at the Macquarie University India Research Centre symposium on the performing arts in India


  • Presented a paper Carnatic Jazz Intercultural Music at HDR conference at Macquarie University, MMCCS

Featured Articles, Addresses and Interviews


  • ‘Celebrating Humanity Through The Creative Process’, Peggy Glanville Hicks Address written and presented by Sandy Evans for The New Music Network; broadcast on ABC Fora TV; published on the New Music Network website
  • ‘In Conversation with Michael Webb’, in Extempore Journal
  • Featured in a book chapter authored by Louise Denson about Jane Bunnett and Sandy Evans, ‘One World, Worlds Apart’, in Post-colonial Distances: The Study of Popular Music in Canada and Australia. B. Dimond, D. Crowdy & D. Downes (Eds.) Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Press. 2008


  • ‘The 21st Century Performer’, Sandy Evans, Daryl Pratt & Margery Smith interviewed by James Nightingale. Published in Sounds Australian



  • Interview with Geoff Page for the National Library of Australia, Oral History and Folklore collection

The following books have references to Sandy Evans’ work:

         Shand, John. Jazz: The Australian Accent. Sydney: University of New South Wales Press. 2009.

         Clare, John. Bodgie Dada and the Cult of Cool: Jazz in Australia since the 1940s. Sydney: University of New South Wales Press. 1995.

         Sharpe, John. I Wanted to Be a Jazz Musician. Canberra: National Film and Sound Archive. 2008.

         Johnson, Bruce. The Oxford Companion to Australian Jazz. Melbourne: Oxford University Press. 1987

Composition Portfolio


* indicates a commissioned work


For the Australian Art Orchestra

Instrumentation: 5 Saxophones (doubling woodwinds), 3 Trumpets, Trombone, Bass Trombone, Tuba, Violin, Bass, Drums, 2 Percussion, Piano, Keyboards, Guitar


  • Feast and Lament For the Warrior Queen *


  • Testimony: The Legend of Charlie Parker * Collaboration with Yusef Komunyakaa featuring 11 Vocalists, Narrator and Big Band (as above)




     Purple Dress

     Deep South

     A Day like Today

     Abel and Cain

     Black Cockatoo

     Camarillo Part 1

     Camarillo Part 2

     Addie’s Boy

     Pree’s Funeral Song

     Barrow Street

     A Soft Touch For Strings

     Baroness Pannonica

     Finale and Coda


  • The Beatitudes* Extended work (70 minutes) with libretto by Nigel Jamieson


Instrumentation: Children’s Choir, 8 vocal soloists and large ensemble – String Orchestra, Flute and Piccolo, Bb Clarinet/Bb Bass Clarinet, Soprano Saxophone/Tenor Saxophone, Alto Saxophone, Bb Trumpet, Tenor Trombone, Tuba/Euphonium, Didjeridu in D and Eb, Harp, Piano, Keyboard, Organ, Computer, Electric and Acoustic Guitar, Oud, Acoustic and Electric Bass, 5 Percussionists


For Ten Part Invention

Instrumentation: 4 Saxophones, 2 Trumpets, Trombone, Piano, Bass, Drums

  • Unidentified Spaces *

Mvt 1: Fortea Two

Mvt 2: The Heart

Mvt 3: North Pole

Mvt 4: Queensland


  • Tall Stories *
  • Long Shadows*
  • Wind Over The Lake*
  • Modern Companion*
  • Bittersweet and Cry*
  • The Invisible Man*
  • Program For Ten*


For The Sandy Evans Trio

Instrumentation: Saxophone, Bass, Drums

  • Not in the Mood
  • Pole Position
  • Hungry Head Shuffle
  • Reflections on Saraswati
  • Gentle Love
  • Mountview
  • Saha
  • Skedaddleology
  • Tom The Leprechaun and His Idiotical Frequencies
  • Triumphal Arch
  • Sunlight On Tears
  • Last Dance
  • One For Harry
  • Elvinesque
  • Jabiru
  • Och Aye The Groove
  • Neither This Nor That
  • Beehive Heaven
  • The Secret Garden
  • Circumbendibus Rapt (Co-composed with Brett Hirst)
  • Snake Gully
  • Venus and The Dog Star
  • Come On Mama
  • Like Wine
  • Morning Prayer
  • Kaleyard Blues


For Bernie McGann Quartet

Instrumentation: 2 Saxophones, Bass, Drums

  • Eulogy For a Friend
  • Snap
  • Which Way Up
  • One For the Road


For Celebrating Bernie McGann Quintet

Instrumentation: 2 Saxophones, Trumpet, Bass, Drums

  • Interstellar Conversations*
  • Tales of the Incredible Antarctic Sax Explorer and his Conniving Manager*
  • For Addie*
  • Addison Road Jive*


For the Sandy Evans Sextet

Instrumentation: Saxophone, Trumpet, Trombone, Piano, Bass, Drums

  • When The Sky Cries Rainbows*
  • Spectre*
  • Chromatic Dispersion*
  • Heedrum-Hodrum Headbanging*
  • Violet*
  • Alexander’s Dark Band*
  • Spectre of the Broken*
  • Indra Slays the Demon Serpent*
  • Broken*
  • Indigo Hues*
  • 40 Degrees*
  • Hand in Hand*
  • With the Sun Behind Me*
  • Siva’s Wide Sky (co-composed with Guru Karaaikkudi Mani)


For Clarion Fracture Zone

Instrumentation: 2 Saxophones (one doubling clarinet), Piano and sampler, Bass, Drums

  • Blue Shift
  • Feather Star
  • The Wild Uproar
  • Lest We Forget
  • Marine Graves
  • Nudibranch
  • Boogie At The Red Sofas Bar
  • Lilac Embers
  • Your Touch on My Skin
  • Jacaranda
  • What This Love Can Do (60 minute suite in 5 movements)


For Clarion Fracture Zone with the Martenitsa Choir

(Female Bulgarian choir)

  • Kogoto Obitcha Dushata Mi Part 1 and 2
  • Stirring the Waters (co-composed with Alister Spence)


For Saxophone Quartet

  • Five Portraits of Bellingen *

Dawn Over Gumbangyir Country                                               


The Beautiful Bellinger                               

Boggy Creek Bop                                         

Street Party

  • The Rose of Sharon



Instrumentation: 2 Saxophones (one doubling Clarinet), Trumpet, Koto, Computer, Guitar, Bass, Drums

  • Winter Flight*
  • The March of Captain Vanstone*
  • A Shower of Sunbeams*
  • Inner Space*
  • School’s Out*
  • Autobus


For The catholics

Instrumentation: Saxophone, Trombone/Pocket Trumpet, Guitar, Bass, Drums, Percussion, Slide Guitar or Piano Accordion

  • DPM *
  • Margarita Thing
  • Floating On An Emerald Green Sea
  • And She Walked into the Field Where the Man Slept Wearing First Orange and Then Blue*
  • Clouds Form Shapes of Eagles’ Wings*
  • Afternoon Haze*
  • Easy Walk


For Waratah

Instrumentation: Saxophone, Koto/Bass Koto, Percussion

  • The Bali Boys
  • Prayer for East Timor
  • A Bend In The River
  • Dancing On Rainbows (Co-composed with Satsuki Odamura and Tony Lewis)
  • Time Never Sleeps (Co-composed with Satsuki Odamura and Tony Lewis)


For Bulgarian Women’s Choir

  • Peperuda*


For Bulgarian Women’s Choir and MARA!

Instrumentation: 2 Saxophones, Voice/Tapan, Bouzouki, Bass

  • El Selzata Na Klouna*
  • Evkeliptov San*
  • Povik Ot Iuk Daletchen


Compositions for Indian jazz intercultural ensembles

Instrumentation: 2 Saxophones, Trumpet, Bass Trombone, Piano, Bass, Drums, Bamboo Flute, Electric Mandolin, Mridangam, Ghatam

  • Sacred Cow’s Tail


Instrumentation: Saxophone, Trumpet, Bass Trombone, Drums, Bamboo Flute, Electric Mandolin, Mridangam, Ghatam

  • Meetings at the Table of Time: *

Anbe Sivam (Co-composed with Guru Karaaikkudi Mani)

An Indian in Paris

Drums Across the Ganges


Instrumentation: Saxophone, Piano, Bamboo Flute, Electric Mandolin, Mridangam, Ghatam

  • Big Swell
  • Big Swell Reprise
  • Eagle Landing at Cape Leveque
  • Clouds At Dawn


Instrumentation: Saxophone, Bamboo Flute, Electric Mandolin, Mridangam, Ghatam

  • Cosmic Waves At West Beach


Instrumentation: Saxophone, Sousaphone, Bamboo Flute, Electric Mandolin, Mridangam, Ghatam

  • The Agile Wallaby


Instrumentation: Saxophone, Electric Bass, Bamboo Flute, Electric Mandolin, Mridangam, Ghatam

  • Floating On An Emerald Green Sea


Instrumentation: Saxophone, Bass, Tabla, Sitar/Carnatic Male Voice, Drums

  • Robben Island*
  • The Censors*
  • A Free Mind*
  • Lokasvatanatrataa*
  • Freedom, Priceless Above Rubies*
  • Passive Resistance, No Regrets*
  • No Children Here*
  • Explosion of Memory*


Instrumentation: Saxophone, Bass, Sitar/Carnatic Male Voice

  • Seven Stories of Dreams Extended Work (60 minutes)

One Dream 

One Planet 

One Justice 

One Prayer 

One Breath 

One Hope



For Rockpool Mirror (collaboration with photographer Belinda Webster)

Instrumentation: Saxophone duets with Koto, Tabla, Bass, Bass Trombone, Drums, AirSticks

  • Morning Mist
  • Rock Warrior 1
  • Rock Warrior 2
  • Gum Tree
  • Blue Gorge
  • Curved Tree
  • Rock Water Temple
  • Tree Tangle
  • Lake Yarrunga
  • Lake Yarrunga Colours
  • Rock Face
  • Cliff Edge
  • Dasavatara


For Sirens Big Band

Instrumentation: 5 Saxophones (doubling woodwinds), 4 Trumpets, 3 Trombones, Bass Trombone, Bass, Drums, Piano, Guitar, Rapper

  • Kali and The Time of Change (Rap by Harri Harding) *


Text-sound collaboration

  • Black Desert (Co-composed with Hazel Smith) *


For The String Contingent

Instrumentation: Saxophone, Violin, Guitar, Double Bass

  • Sahayog (Co-composed with Holly Downes)


For Soprano Saxophone, Trombone and Contrabass Clarinet

  • Transcendent Arc


For Alto and Baritone voices, Tenor Saxophone, Bass, Piano, Drums

  • Blood Red Moon (Text by Ngareta Rossell)


For The Seymour Group

Instrumentation: Flute/Alto Flute/Piccolo, Clarinet/Soprano Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone, Horn, 3 Trumpets, 2 Trombones, Bass Trombone, Didjeridu, Violin, Double Bass, Prepared Piano, Drum Kit

  • Unit 2, Cloud 9*


For Dance

  • Yellow Dog* (Co-composed with Peter Kennard)
  • Kapture* (Co-composed with Bobby Singh)


For Theatre

  • In Our Name* (Co-composed with Sumawi Hussain)


Film Soundtrack

  • Hatred*


Music for advertising  

Clients include:

  • Oz Lotto
  • Commonwealth Bank














CDs featuring Sandy Evans’ compositions and/or improvisations



Sandy Evans Trio with Bobby Singh and Sarangan Sriranganathan

  • Kapture (Rufus Records) 2015

Sandy Evans and Yusef Komunyakaa

  • Testimony: A Tribute to Charlie Parker (Wesleyan University Press) 2013


Sandy Evans Sextet

  • When the Sky Cries Rainbows (SET) 2011


Sandy Evans Trio

  • The Edge of Pleasure (SET) 2009
  • Not in the Mood (Newmarket) 2002


With Guru Kaaraikkudi Mani and Sruthi Laya

  • Cosmic Waves (Underscore Records) 2012



  • Kaleidoscope (Tall Poppies) 2008



  • Boggy Creek Bop (Rufus) 2010


Clarion Fracture Zone

  • Canticle (Rufus) 2002 (with the Martenitsa Choir)
  • Less Stable Elements (Rufus) 1996
  • What This Love Can Do (Rufus) 1994
  • Zones on Parade (Rufus) 1993
  • Blue Shift (Rufus) 1990-1991


Ten Part Invention

  • Live at Wangaratta (ABC) 2005
  • Unidentified Spaces (Rufus) 2000
  • Tall Stories (Rufus) 1994


The catholics

  • Yonder (Bugle) 2013
  • Inter Vivos - Live in Concert (Bugle) 2009
  • Village (Bugle) 2007
  • Gondola (Bugle) 2006
  • Choice (Bugle) 2000
  • Barefoot (Bugle) 1999
  • Life On Earth (Rufus) 1997
  • Simple (Rufus) 1994
  • The catholics (Rufus) 1992


  • Tra Parole E Silenzio (Mara Music) 2012 (with the Martenitsa Choir)
  •  Sezoni (Real World) 1997 (with the Martenitsa Choir)
  • Ruino Vino (Rufus) 1995
  • Don’t Even Think (Sandstock) 1990


The Australian Art Orchestra

  •    Kindness/Udarta (Compilation, The Australia India Council) 2012
  •    The Chennai Sessions (AAO) 2008
    • Ruby (AAO) 2005
    • The Theft of Sita (Newmarket) 2000
    • Into The Fire (AAO) 1999
    • Passion (ABC) 1999


The String Contingent

  • Facets (TSC) 2015


The Bernie McGann Trio

  • Playground (Rufus) 1997


The Gai Bryant Quartet

  • Music (GB) 2002
  • High Jinx (Rufus) 1998


Women and Children First

  • Missin’ (self released cassette) 1985
  • Women and Children First (Shock Records) 1984


Great White Noise

  • Sedition JJJ 1983


Atma Blu

  • Atma Blu (Chris Fields) 2016



  • History Goes Everywhere (Tall Poppies) 2015
  • Lysis Lives (Tall Poppies) 2002
  • Present Tense (Tall Poppies) 1997
  • The Next Room (Tall Poppies) 1994
  • Moving the Landscapes (Tall Poppies) 1992

Hazel Smith with austraLYSIS

  • Poet Without Language (Rufus Records) 1994


Lloyd Swanton

  • Ambon (Bugle Records) 2015


Andrew Robson

  • Songbook (Lamplight) 2013
  • Bearing The Bell (ABC) 2008


Kim Sanders and Friends

  • Bent Grooves (MMKS) 2007


Kristen Cornwell Quintet

  • Sea Journey (2000)
  • Spiral (2004)


Mohsen Soltany Sand

  • Australian Dream 2002


Paul McNamara

  • Duo Logic (Rufus) 1999


Jeremy Sawkins

  • Toys (Rufus Records) 1994


Judy Bailey and Friends

  • Sundial (ABC) 1993


Jamie Fielding

  • Notes From The Underground (Australian Independent Jazz Artists) 1983


Sirens Big Band

  • Kali and The Time of Change 2012


Compass Quartet

  • Ode To An Autorickshaw (Earshift) 2011




Robert Webster



Australia Council Fellowship, Music, 2017-2018

APRA AMCOS Art Music Award to compose ‘Bridge of Dreams’, 2016

Vice Chancellor’s Commendation for Academic Excellence, PhD Macquarie University, Sydney, 2014

Churchill Fellowship, 2014

Performance of the Year, Art Music Awards, for The Australian Art Orchestra and Sruthi Laya, 2013

Best Independent Jazz CD, AIR Award for When the Sky Cries Rainbows, 2011

Order of Australia Medal for contribution to Australian music, 2010

Australian Jazz Musician of The Year, Inaugural Bell Award, 2003

APRA Award for Most Performed Jazz Composition, 2003

Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Award for Best Australian Jazz Recording for Playground, 1997

Young Australian Creative Fellowship, 1996

ARIA Award for Ruino Vino, 1996

Jazz Performer of the Year, Mo Award, 1996

APRA Award for Jazz Composition of the Year, 1995

Deutsche Schallplattenkritik Award nomination, Germany, for The catholics CD Simple, 1995

Jazz Times Critics’ Pick in the top 10 annual releases: The catholics CD Simple, 1995

Best Jazz Group, Mo Award for The catholics, 1995

5 star rating, DownBeat Magazine (US) for Clarion Fracture Zone CD Zones On Parade, 1994

Mo Award, Female Jazz Performer of the Year, 1993

ARIA Award, Best Australian Jazz Recording for Blue Shift by Clarion Fracture Zone, 1990

5 star rating, Jazzthetik Magazine (Germany) for Blue Shift, 1990

Jazz Times Critics’ Pick in the top 10 annual releases: Blue Shift, 1990

Coda magazine (Canada) critic’s pick in the top 10 annual releases: Blue Shift, 1990