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Shirley Smart is recognised as one of the UK’s most versatile and creative cellists – being equally at home and well versed in jazz and Middle Eastern music, as well as classical music.

Originally trained under Raphael Wallfisch at the Guilldhall School of Music, and Janos Starker in Paris, she subsequently moved to Jerusalem, where she remained for 10 years, studying and performing a wide variety of musical traditions from the North Africa, Turkey and Middle East. She was also highly active on the jazz scene, working with artists including Avishai Cohen, Omer Avital and Yasmin Levy.

Since returning to the UK, she has quickly become known as one of the most creative cellists on the music scene and has worked with many leading jazz and world music groups, including Antonio Forcione, Mulato Astatke, Gilad Atzmon, Neil Cowley, Julian Ferraretto, Robert Mitchell, and Alice Zawadski.

She leads her own trio, with John Crawford on piano, and Demi Garcia Sabat on drums, and sextet.

Other projects include Issis Barratt’s Interchange, a freely improvised duo with multi-instrumentalist James Arben and duo with pianist Robert Mitchell, with whom a duo CD is to be released on Discus Records later in 2021.

Shirley is Head of Performance and a Lecturer in Music at City University, and also teaches Improvisation and Jazz at the Royal College of Music Junior Department. She is a visiting tutor for the National Youth Jazz Collective, and an in demand workshop leader.

..some of the most inventive use of the cello I’ve heard for some time.

  Kind of Jazz

as a cellist-composer she morphs seamlessly from Stephane Grappelli like swing and Bird-like bebop…

a charming kaleidoscope and jazzy showcase of her global folk music-inspired compositions

Jazzwise

a superb set –  a sound world that is at once rooted in the ancient and traditional musics that it draws from in an utterly contemporary manner that also incorporates modern jazz. 

This is an exceptionally strong leadership debut from a lady that I’m sure we are destined to hear much more from.

Jazzviews

Long Story Short represents another impressive offering from Smart and is a worthy début under her own name.The album covers an impressive amount of musical and geographical ground with its range of styles and influences. Smart’s playing, both with and without the bow, is exceptional throughout..

…a stunning pizzicato solo, her playing reminiscent of a top jazz bassist. And she’s pretty handy with the bow too!

The JazzMann

Intense, lyrical and full of energy….A thrilling range on technique on display…Smart’s cello singing, snarling or pumping out bass line….Fascinating listening, and thought-provoking entertainment for the open-eared

The Arts Desk

Smarts playing is particularly remarkable throughout. She readily demonstrates a wide range of techniques incorporating an understanding of improvisation drawn from a jazz background and her extensive knowledge of Arabic maqam..

Songlines

01_Waltz for an Amethyst

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- click here to add events, both online and in-person

PRIYA RAGU

 
Apr 21, 2022
  Scala

COLECTIVA

 
Feb 4, 2022
  The Jazz Cafe

Julian Costello Quartet

 
Jan 20, 2022
  Spice of Life

Momentum

 
Jan 20, 2022
  The Bulls Head

Hannah Horton Quartet

 
Feb 27, 2022
  Colchester Arts Jazz Club

Vasilis Xenopoulos Dexterity Quintet

 
Jan 28, 2022
  The Progress Theatre

Art Themen Quartet

 
Jan 21, 2022
  The Bulls Head

NEW GENERATION JAZZ FESTIVAL WEEKENDER

 
Feb 4, 2022
  Ropetackle

Sarah Moule & Simon Wallace Valentine’s Day – Love Go Round

 
Feb 14, 2022
  The Pheasantry, PizzaExpress King's Road, Chelsea, London SW3 4UT

Jazz In The Round – Celebrating 10 Years

 
Jan 31, 2022
  The Cockpit

Komodo Horns + Francesca Confortini

 
Jan 19, 2022
  Pizza Express Jazz Club (Soho)

GOAT GIRL + PVA

 
Jan 18, 2022
  The Roundhouse

TERTIA MAY

 
Jan 27, 2022
  The Jazz Cafe

LOS BITCHOS

 
Mar 2, 2022
  Scala

Dom Pipkin & The Ikos Trio

 
Jan 20, 2022
  Boston Room at George IV

coming soon

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