Mammal Hands bring their unique sound to Ropery Hall

By janetuplin |

Mammal Hands, a trio of like-minded musicians who first met in 2012 while busking in Norwich, will be playing at Barton upon Humber’s Ropery Hall in the next couple of weeks.

The three – Nick Smart on piano, brother Jordon Smart on saxophone and Jesse Barrett on drums and percussion – have since then carved out a growing following both here and abroad with their hypnotic fusion of jazz, folk and electronica winning fans from Bonobo and Gilles Peterson to Jamie Cullum.

“Drawing on a rich well of influences from Sufi and shamanic African trance music, Irish and Eastern European folk music, to Steve Reich and Philip Glass and more contemporary electronica influences, their music is built around deceptively simple sounding ideas that are lent power through the use of repetition and rhythmic loops,” explained Liz Bennet of The Ropewalk.

“They have been compared to both Portico Quartet and GoGo Penguin (who appeared at Ropery Hall four years ago) for the way in which they navigate the choppy waters between contemporary dance music and jazz,” Liz continued.

“Pianist Nick brings to the group a knowledge of classical Jazz harmonies but also a deep interest in the minimalist composers who have influenced his compositional approach, striving to create hypnotic, rhythmic patterns that can provide a foundation for Jordan and Jesse to build on. It is this unique combination of influences and their unusual baseless line-up that makes Mammal Hands’ sound so distinctive.”

Drawing on influences from Steve Reich to Bonobo and Pharoah Sanders to Cinematic Orchestra, alongside elements of North Indian and African music, Mammal Hands produce their own beautiful, inimitable music – at times wistful and melancholic and others raucous and catchy. They evoke a range of moods, from delicate and subtle to explosive and frantic, blending thoughtful compositions with spontaneity and interplay.

Landmark live performances so far have included shows at King’s Place in London and the RNCM in Manchester, as well as a barn-storming debut at the Montreal Jazz Festival (where they debuted as part of the BBC Introducing showcase).

The group’s latest album, Shadow Work, is due for release on October 27.

“Shadow Work is their third album and the first they have self-produced. Recorded at 80 Hertz Studios, Gondwana Records home from home in Manchester, it is the result of 18 months of intensive touring and mammoth writing sessions,” Liz said.

Now described as one of the hottest acts of UK jazz, Mammal Hands will be appearing at Ropery Hall on Friday, October 20, starting at 8pm.  Tickets to the gig cost £13 in advance or £15 on the door.  Advance tickets can be bought online at www.roperyhall.co.uk, in person from The Ropewalk’s Craft Gallery or by calling 01652 660380.

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