****THE SHAKUHACHI QUEST FOUR STARS (Vic Times-Colonist)****

Wednesday, August 27, 2014 (Pg. C11)

By Amy Smart

The Shakuhachi Quest: An Epic Journey into the Soul of Music

Rating: 4 (out of 5)

From the moment Jim Sands tells you that “It was supposed to be an ordinary day,” you know it won’t be and you want to know why.

Vancouver-based performer Sands is a gifted storyteller. With a deep, velvety voice – the kind that fills a room and makes you hang on to the carefully places pauses – Sands is the kind of person who probably gets invited to a lot of dinner parties.

In this case, Sands uses the moment he was thrown from his bicycle to dive into a memory of his quest, with two friends, to find a rare Japanese flute known as the shakuhachi. From there, he takes leaps and bounds across the history of music itself, telling us of his own introduction to music, from sneaking out as a teen to catch John Lee Hooker perform to the power of Beethoven’s Fur Elise in the Coen Brothers’ The Man Who Wasn’t There. He connects Bob Dylan with Nick Drake and the Romantic composers, shares what made the Talking Heads’ This Must be the Place (Naïve Melody) so appealing and takes us back to early music of the Mayan civilization.

It`s ambitious and requires quite a sophisticated structure to weave so many stories together in a cohesive package. But Sands does it skillfully, even if he did seem tired Sunday night and stumbled more than he should.

Ultimately, he says, music is a way to break the walls between us. And by the end of the show, you`re convinced that it is.