“Temple of Bel” is the third single from Kansas Smitty’s rescheduled album, “Things Happened Here”, to be released on newly resurfaced label Ever in conjunction with !K7 on 26th June.
“Temple of Bel” is the sound of destruction. It is the sound of a battle, not between peoples, but between a people and its memories. Named after the ancient Syrian temple that was partially destroyed in 2015, “Temple of Bel” aims to capture the seismic impact of eradicating swaths of human history in one fell swoop. The drums drive the adrenaline rush, with Alec Harper’s sax coming in with a solo flight that swells into one last drive.
Led by American-Italian alto-saxophonist/clarinettist Giacomo Smith, and featuring a wide array of young and exciting British jazz talent, Kansas Smitty’s astutely bridge traditional and modern jazz forms in seamless and sublime fashion. Having sold out shows at Ronnie Scott’s and The Jazz Café, a headline show at Omeara in London in May was on the cards before you know what happened, and the album release was postponed to late June.
Drawing influence from over one hundred years of jazz history, from Django Reinhardt to Ahmad Jamal, and the vivid musical landscapes of Debussy and even Brian Eno, the group have been racking up supporters from across the jazz divide from BBC Radio 2’s Jamie Cullum and Claire Teal to Gilles Peterson’s online selectors at Worldwide FM.
Reflective, like a concluding moment after a long journey, physical or spiritual, Judgement is a song that can make you nostalgic for not only the places you’ve experienced, but those you’ve dreamed of. It has a cathartic and cleansing feel that both concludes and reignites our desire for fulfilled experience.
The influence of the diversity of jazz scenes in London led bandleader Giocomo Smith to launch a live music-focused bar under the same name (Kansas Smitty’s), with the view of establishing a music venue that would showcase the entire breadth of jazz music coming from the capital, from the hip-hop/broken-beat infused sounds of Moses Boyd to ‘Swing to Bop’ jams with band guitarist, Dave Archer. Up until March and the beginning of Covid-19 in the UK, jazz and music lovers alike converged on Broadway Market in Hackney, East London, to hear the latest jazz ripples out of London (Shabaka Hutchings, Ezra Collective’s Femi Koleoso and Kokoroko bandleader, Sheila Maurice-Grey all have performed), alongside the band and their many musical offshoots, all in one place.
It is a key space for the band to write and record new material, from the group’s self-titled debut in 2015 to the group’s latest and fourth studio album Things Happened Here. On nine original compositions written and produced solely by Smith, deft individual playing and vivid, dynamic composition meet at a crossroads of influence, unique to many of those operating on the UK jazz scene today.