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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

WATCH AND LISTEN selected music videos

Watch and Listen – Loucin

 

VOTI – Newcastle Jazz Festival 2021

 

VOTI – Robert Mitchell’s 50th Birthday Concert

 

VOTI – Julian Siegel: Tales from the Jacquard

 

APPJAG Review of Jazz in England

 

Watch and Listen – Deemer #2

 

Watch and Listen – Queen Mab

 

Watch and Listen – Deemer

 

Watch and Listen – Ivo Neame

 

Watch and Listen – Eliza Oakes

 

Watch and Listen – Isobella Burnham

 

Watch and Listen – JazznewbloodTAPES

 

Yazz Ahmed In Conversation

 

Watch and Listen – JazznewbloodTAPES

 

Watch and Listen – Open Conversations EP1 Part 2

 

Watch and Listen – Open Conversations EP1 Part 1

 

Watch and Listen – DJ Ritu

 

CONNECTSMUSIC LIVE – JP Cooper

 

CONNECTSMUSIC LIVE – Bellowhead

 

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

Orpheus

 
Nov 9, 2021
  Preston Conservative Club

Kidderminster Jazz Club – Roger Beaujolais

 
Oct 7, 2021
  Kidderminster Town Hall

Ms Maurice

 
Sep 27, 2021
  The Cockpit

Jim Rattigan

 
Sep 28, 2021
  Preston Conservative Club

Andrew McCormack’s Graviton

 
Oct 22, 2021
  The Progress Theatre

Faye Patton Nu Jazz Quartet

 
Oct 16, 2021
  Toulouse Lautrec

Wendy Kirkland & Pat Sprakes Sextet

 
Sep 26, 2021
  Preston Conservative Club

coming soon

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