Performed at Jazz at Lincoln Centre as part of the Wynton Marsalis big band in 2018
Giacomo Smith was born in Italy and grew up in upstate New York. He picked up on jazz very early from his mother’s great affinity for Dave Brubeck. Giacomo began piano lessons at 5, clarinet at 10, and saxophone at 12. At each stage along the way, he developed a deeper interest in classical and jazz music.
At university, Giacomo followed the classical performance path. He completed a Bachelor’s of Music at Boston University in 2009 and a Master’s Degree at McGill University in 2011, both in classical clarinet performance. From there, he moved to London to work in Boston University London Programmes’ administrative office. His days were spent at the computer and nights learning the London scene at places like Ronnie Scott’s, the Quecumbar, the Nightjar, and The Haggerston. In 2013, Giacomo left his office job to pursue a full time career in music. In his time in the UK, he has performed at London’s major jazz venues (Ronnie Scott’s, 606 Club, Vortex), the Hackney Empire, Waterloo Vaults, and the Royal Albert Hall Elgar Room.
Giacomo is part of the Kansas Smitty’s House Band, a group of jazz-addicted twenty-somethings who gained their name from being proprietors of their own bar. Between sessions and shows at their place, a sweaty weekly party in an old railway arch in Bethnal Green, and monthly shows at Ronnie Scott’s, the Band composed the original jazz music to create an album that’s an instant classic. This embodiment of the Band’s original approach appeals not only to jazz fans, but to a genre-blind audience who can relate to the accessible way in which these young virtuosos perform their unique material.
Their self-titled debut album was recorded, mixed and mastered in less than a week, from November 17-23, 2014. It was recorded by Lewis Durham of Kitty, Daisy and Lewis straight to tape and without a computer in sight. The ten tracks contained within illustrate the Band’s full sour mash of genres: Kansas City Jazz, New Orleans Funk, Trad, Swing, Blues and even Avant-Garde. Highlights from the album are ‘Black Paddy’, a surefire party-starter co-written by Giacomo Smith and Theon Cross (Sons of Kemet) that features the infectious beat of Pedro Segundo (Ronnie Scott’s House Band, Judith Owen) and Warm Embrace, an Armstrong-esque ballad by Ruben Fox (Kinetica Bloco) that features the other-worldly vocals of ‘Sweet’ Pete Horsfall (Basin Street Brawlers).
Kansas Smitty’s House Band was released on September 25th, 2015.
In 2014, the Band’s self-released 7″ single received air play on BBC Radio 2, 3, London and Jazz FM and this album is set to take the band to a new level.