Mammal Hands, Gift from the Trees Review
by Ferell Aubre
Mammal Hands has released their fifth album called Gift from the Trees. The trio of Jordan Smart, saxophone; Nick Smart, piano; and Jesse Barrett, drums recorded the album in a residential studio; the band enjoyed the opportunity to go late into the night searching for more profound, more organic experiences and interactions. The album is a mix of pre-composed and improvised ideas in the studio. The idea was to try and capture more of the energy of Mammal Hands’ captivating shows.
“The Spinner” begins our journey with the influence of the Welsh environment around the studio and players. The trio builds a stylish groove with elegant textures and close listening. The driving arpeggio figure by Nick propels the music as Barrett and Jordan color. The piece is beautiful and effective in building energy and space of textures that flow together to form a musical whole. Mammal Hands is a trio of melodic and rich in tones.
“Kernel” continues the hopeful and bright energy that permeates throughout the album. The theme is built with Jordan and Nick holding the theme as Barrett floats around the theme. The counterpoint between the three players is vital to the song’s success; textures and shapes are just as important as notes with Mammal Hands.
Gift from the Trees brings a distinctive Welsh jazz album to the table by a creative and unique trio called Mammal Hands. The trio’s instrumentation and collective energy allow the trio to build organic, groove-based, and colorful soundscapes.
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