(A photo would be great here. Contact me if you have one)


This was the first of a run of three nights for the band at the club, and the last before Lloyd left the group. There were some technical problems from the stage that meant the first two pieces of the first set are not worth listening to, but the recording takes a while to take shape anyway. The recording made the following night has a more settled balance for me. Apart from being a rare capture of this exciting group playing live, these two recordings also document an early collaboration between Lloyd Swanton and Chris Abrahams, who later with drummer Tony Buck, would settle into a long running musical relationship as the Necks.

Lloyd writes that these recordings capture “two of the final three nights ever, of The Benders.

In 1986, I’d just returned from 10 months’ music study in London and had decided to leave The Benders after several great years, which included countless performances round Australia, three highly-acclaimed studio albums, performances at the North Sea and Montreux Jazz Festivals, a two week stint at Ronnie Scott’s opposite Arturo Sandoval, and an appearance at the Festival Jazz Latino in Havana. We were part of the young wave of jazz that played with a rock sensibility, and took it into rock and punk clubs to great response. A far cry from the Reaganite jazz-in-suits movement that was happening elsewhere.

At the same time, Dale Barlow had returned from several years overseas (he’d played on our first album, “E”, and then Jason Morphett had taken over) and was back in the band, and it was decided to mount a farewell/welcome Australian tour.

My diary from the time is not particularly forthcoming with information, and it’s unclear whether the tour ended up comprising any more than three consecutive nights at The Basement, and a night (or nights?) in southern Queensland (though I do clearly remember waking up early on the morning of our departure for that run with a diabolical case of THE runs; quite unable to get onto an aeroplane, so I called the guys at stupid o’clock and said they’d have to find another bass player. They got hold of some new guy in town called Jonathan Zwartz, who I’d never heard of, but on their return from Queensland they pronounced him quite good)”.

(Dr.Andreas Karas wrote from London that he could confirm there were shows other than those at the Basement as he had the programmes – although he didn’t elaborate as to where they were. He was also able to fill in a couple of the previously blank titles – so thanks are due for that.)

Set. 1 – play complete set (minus first 2 tunes)

Set. 2 – play complete set



Play individual clips