Brothers Nick and Jordan Smart made electronic music at home in Norwich. Then they met drummer Jesse Barrett and the sound developed considerably. With the relatively unusual arrangement of keyboards, piano, drums and saxophone, the band – which now took the name Mammal Hands – began to move itself more towards a contemporary minimalism that reminds a lot of greats like Terry Riley and Philip Glass. As with these two composers, there is a deep feeling for and love for Sufi trance music and West African folk music. But Mammal Hands also combines it with a strong jazz attitude that is mainly influenced by spiritual jazz.
The Guardian praised one of their gigs: “semi-classical drums/sax/piano trio Mammal Hands mutates into a loud janitor”. And although that may not be the whole truth – the Smart brothers’ original interest in electronic music is also noticeable. It means a strong tempo drive, slowly growing intensity and strong, repetitive melodies.
Live, they captivate their audience and the concert reviewers have compared them to other British bands who also know how to fascinate on stage, such as GoGo Penguin and Portico Quartet.
Nick Smart – keyboards, piano
Jesse Barrett – drums and tabla
Jordan Smart – saxophone