|Giacomo Smith (centre) at the Dead Dolls Club|
(Late Late Show at Ronnie Scott's. 17th-18th January 2015. Review by Erminia Yardley)
Well, that’s not easy. Jazz is free, volatile, flowing and, most of all, innovative, even in its most traditional guise. And yet, there is a band which has managed just that: to put danger back into jazz!
Kansas Smittys, an eight piece band, led by clarinettist Giacomo Smith, are simply talent personified. The moment they start playing on the “Late Late Show” at Ronnie's in the early hours of Sunday 18th, a certain buzz is in the air.
There are twelve tracks played through the session, two of which, need a special mention. Warm Embrace, from the band’s forthcoming album, the title of which is still to be confirmed, and I get ideas are sung both by the magnificent Peter Horsfall, who, apart from playing trumpet, has the most delicious voice this side of the universe.
One only needs to close one’s eyes and is immediately transported back into the ‘30s era. His voice is suave, soft and elegant. Each word is sung with clarity, resembling a silk caress.
Outstanding saxophone playing by Reuben Fox deserves a special mention, too, whilst Joe Webb on piano is fun, innovative and eclectic.
It is just simply a joy to watch the band play together; we are witnessing an ensemble that will go far, very far.
Watching the crowd watch Kansas Smittys is yet another indication of how good they are. They draw us in straight away. Members of Booker T Jones' band, who have played before them, are in the audience too, enjoying the groove!
Swinging towards a different level of jazz, Kansas Smittys are here to stay, but, let it be known, they not only play, but have definitely put danger back into jazz, so beware anyone… this jazz is not for the faint-hearted!
Kansas Smittys play at The Vaults (Leake Street, SE1 7NN) on 31st January
New album for release soon
LINK: Tiger Rag at the Bird Cafe in Dalston