Kansas Smitty’s House Band meld not only the music of old-style speakeasy Dixieland joints with flavours of new and up-and-coming musical beats, but also add in the idiosyncratic influences of each band member.
The music was exactly perfect for the venue, with its juleps and candlelight ambience. Almost everyone was in complete silence once the music started to play – quite the rarity in London. Listening to jazz is an absorbing mental activity, if you really want to get into the music, then please find yourself a table in the front row, close your eyes and bob your head slowly.
The first song was ‘20th Century’. As soon as the band settled down to play, the saxophonist looked back and said “1…2…20th Century” then suddenly it was almost like a different time. The rhythmic feel of the band is certainly swing, with resonant synoptic chords throughout which made it difficult not to boogie. The most exciting part of the gig was when the drummer and bassists were “trading four” meaning each played a four bar back and forth. It seemed like they were both just jamming and having fun.
Kansas Smitty itself is somethin’ else, to say the least. Upstairs is more casual, where if you were to pass by it would look like any cool London bar, but all the charm is held downstairs. The basement area features jazz on almost every day of the week, from various different musicians around London. It is certainly London Fields’ favourite jazz bar.
Before leaving the bar, I got the opportunity to speak with the musicians who were all very kind in answering questions. I enjoyed every bit of the music and ambience of the basement and hope to return soon.
“If you’re wondering about the burning smell, it’s the saxophone” – Giacomo Smith, Alto Sax.