Search
Get a personalised letter from Santa

Kansas Smitty’s bar hopes to bring jazz to the people in Broadway Market

PUBLISHED: 17:08 12 November 2015 | UPDATED: 17:08 12 November 2015

Kansas Smitty's. Picture: Rah Petherbridge

Kansas Smitty's. Picture: Rah Petherbridge

Archant

Zoe Paskett talks to Giacomo Smith, whose band bought the bar earlier this year to establish their own community.

Jazz can be an alienating genre for many. Whether it’s the ambience, the reputation for being snooty, or the usually exorbitant entry prices, young people have tended to shy away from listening to this type of music.

The Kansas Smitty’s House Band wants to change that. Made up of eight 20 and 30-somethings, they are trying to bring the live jazz they love to their contemporaries.

The band launched their own bar earlier this year in Hackney, hoping to open up their music to a different crowd and have since welcomed a dedicated weekly following.

Their recently-released self-titled debut album is a culmination of the non-stop gigs they have performed together over the past few years. Recorded, mixed and mastered last year in less than a week, they decided to forgo modern technology in favour of analogue, recording straight to tape.

“The album demonstrates the different styles of music that the people in the band like,” says clarinettist and alto saxophone player Giacomo Smith. “It’s not just one person featuring on all the songs so you get a lot of different moods.”

As well as Smith, who brought the band together, the group is made up of Pete Horsfall (trumpet, vocals), Ruben Fox (tenor saxophone), Dave Archer (guitar), Theon Cross (tuba, trombone), Pedro Segundo (drums), Ferg Ireland (bass) and Joe Webb (piano).

“I collected everyone from all over the place,” says Smith. “Ronnie Scott’s, Nightjar, Cucumbar. You just meet people along the way who you click with, or whose music is so awe-inspiring that you need to play with them.”

The group has performed all over London, from well-established jazz clubs like Ronnie Scott’s to the more edgy Dead Dolls Club under the railway arches in Bethnal Green.

Still maintaining a presence on London’s underground scene, they play at their own bar, a tiny cavern under Off Broadway in Hackney, which only just manages to contain the volume of sound they create.

“The bar was an ironic development of a house band in search of a venue,” says Smith. “We can hang out, write material and bring the public into that process. It’s about spending time together and having a community around us. People can see us in our element. It’s like being in our living room.”

Having had a busy year opening a bar, recording an album and still playing nightly gigs around the city, they have no plans to slow down.

Smitty’s Big Four, a derivative of The Kansas Smitty’s House Band made up of Smith, Horsfall, Archer and Ireland, are playing a free gig at artsdepot in North Finchley on November 22 as part of the EFG London Jazz Festival.

Kansas Smitty’s bar is beneath Off Broadway at 63 Broadway Market in Hackney. Visit kansassmittys.com

Latest Hackney Stories

14:00

Harry Redknapp is currently taking part in the latest series of I’m A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here!

11:00

Leyton Orient captain Jobi McAnuff is delighted with his free-kick goal and his side’s fight back to win 3-1 against London rivals Bromley.

10:00

Arsenal Women’s Jordan Nobbs has been ruled out of the rest of the WSL season and could miss next summer’s World Cup in France after rupturing her anterior cruciate ligament, writes Joshua Bunting.

Finsbury Park has been stripped of its Green Flag status after a damning “mystery shopper” report by an environmental charity.

08:11

Jessica Naz netted her first goal for Tottenham Ladies in a 1-0 win over old rivals Charlton Athletic Women as her side returned to winning ways, writes Rosie Bonass.

10:20

One of the most popular pantomimes in London returns this Saturday for a landmark production written and directed by Susie McKenna.

The 50s pin-up model and actress Eve Eden helped raise £2 to fight cancer at a pub night in Mare Street.

Hackney’s eco chief is hosting a tree giveaway out of his own pocket, as a day-to-day means to tackle the “huge and urgent” problem that global warming presents.

PROMOTED CONTENT

Former teacher Steve shares his experiences as a foster carer for teenagers, from dealing with some of their more challenging behaviour, to the rewards of seeing a child develop into a happy and healthy adult

If you are an unpaid carer in Hackney over the age of 25, who would like to get back into work, then Working for Carers can provide the practical assistance and support you need.



Newsletter Sign Up

Hackney Gazette twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read entertainment

Show Job Lists