Mammal Hands are a trio of like-minded musicians: Nick Smart (piano), Jesse Barrett (drums and percussion), and Jordan Smart (saxophones). Drawing on influences from Steve Reich to Bonobo and Pharoah Sanders to The Cinematic Orchestra, alongside elements of North Indian and African music, they produce their own beautiful, inimitable music – at times wistful and melancholic and sometimes raucous, catchy and explosive, blending thoughtful compositions with spontaneity and interplay. On the road they have been wooing audiences from Montreal International Jazz Festival to Ronnie Scott’s; Mostly Jazz Festival to King’s Place London; and have received support from Jamie Cullum, Gilles Peterson and Bonobo. They were signed to Gondwana Records by Matthew Halsall and have released their sublime debut album, Animalia, to critical acclaim.
Mammal Hands met in April 2012, while busking in Norwich. They gelled quickly, drawn to each other’s open approach to music making. Brothers Nick and Jordan were already playing together as an electronica duo but with drummer Jesse joining the band they developed a distinctive sound drawing on their love of electronic, contemporary classical, world and jazz music. Jesse’s influences are wide ranging, drawing much from his studies with tabla maestro Sirishkumar Manji, he blends the intricate and complex rhythmic patterns of tabla with the melodic lines in the trio, bringing a distinctive approach to the drums and the rhythmic framework of the band’s tunes. Jordan brings a love of DJ culture and folk music from around the world, as well as the influence of Pharoah Sanders and John Coltrane to his playing whilst pianist Nick brings a knowledge of classical Jazz harmonies but also a deep interest in the minimalist composers (Terry Riley, Steve Reich, LaMonte Young) which has 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.