Kansas Smitty’s – Things Happened Here

Album Review | Ever/!K7 | Review by Allan Wilkinson | Stars: 4/5

Kansas Smitty’s is a small music venue on Broadway Market in Hackney, North London, which is one of those venues that has been hit quite badly in the course of recent events.  Kansas Smitty’s is also the name of the house band, whose delicious music has spread out of the confines of its Victorian surroundings, where things ‘really happened’ over the years, to such notable venues as Ronnie Scott’s and The Jazz Café.  At the helm of the outfit is the American-Italian alto-saxophonist/clarinettist Giacomo Smith, whose cool approach to melody permeates the nine selections included here.

There’s nothing that will be a challenge to those who say they don’t like jazz, which, as my son often reminds me, is like saying that you don’t like fruit.  The compositions are both relaxing and adventurous at the same time, with some fine performances delivered by a cast of musicians that includes Joe Webb on piano, Will Cleasby on drums and Ferg Ireland on bass.  I’m reminded of Mingus in places, notably on “Sambre et Meuse”.  With each of the selections composed and produced by Smith, Things Happened Here serves as an album to savour until the septet are able to take to stage again.

Choice Track: Riders (NSV 507)