A somewhat belated and brief write up, for another lovely evening at the Bicycle Shop last week, for the extremely talented Mr Andy Kirkham, and new-ish Norwich jazzy types Mammal Hands at a Dreams Music night. Very nice also to catch up with Andy, as well as Jose and Dan from the Vagaband who were also in attendance, and returning, former Screen 3 member Neil Dyer!
Andy is very well known for quite a while on the Norwich scene, for his amazing guitar playing, his adept transitions between genres, and appearances in various local outfits, such as the Eastern Straynotes, Swingball, as well as his solo appearances. Tonight he was joined for the first half of his set by another very talented musician, Jesse Barrett, drummer with Mammal Hands. Andy plays such a variety of styles, classical, Spanish, West African, and Eastern European to name just a few, and he gave us a taster of each here this evening. Being a big fan of Ali Farka Toure I think his covers of this much-missed Malian guitarist are among my favourites. Equally impressive is the fact that Andy actually performs the covers in the original language, which correct me if I am wrong, might possibly be Tamasheq? Anyway, it was a highly enjoyable and accomplished set, as always from this very professional and likable musician.
Mammal Hands are Jordan Smart, Nick Smart and Jesse Barrett. I saw them earlier in the year, at Open with Feral Mouth, and was looking forward to seeing them at the much smaller venue of the Bicycle Shop. It actually suited their style very much, in this intimate space with a very respectful and attentive audience. Freeform jazz is not really my genre, however I find Mammal Hands’ genre a little difficult to define but although I would not call them freeform, they do have jazzy elements which I actually found extremely pleasing and rather hypnotic, almost sending one into a musical trance. They themselves describe the style thus: “Mammal Hands are a trio with a wide range of influences including Jazz, Indian, and Electronic music. They use keyboards, saxophone, guitar, drums, tabla, live sampling and electronics.”
I certainly detect the Indian influences, and if I am not mistaken, also some Ethiopian jazz funk of the 60s and 70s, a style I like a lot. This is a very interesting band with much potential. Well worth catching.
Mammal Hands http://www.facebook.com/MammalHands
Andy Kirkham http://www.andykirkham.com/
words and photos by shashamane