Artist Feature: Shirley Smart Trio

Acknowledged as one of the UK’s most versatile and creative cellists, trailblazing cellist and composer Shirley Smart is equally at home and well versed in jazz, folk, Middle Eastern and World Music, as well as classical, and her music draws upon this rich tapestry of influences. 

Drawing on a background of 10 years living in Jerusalem and working with the overlapping worlds of jazz, Arabic, Turkish and North African music, her trio brings these influences together in an evening of vibrant melodies, grooves, swing and lively improvisation. Showcasing her unique ability to explore the potential of the cello in a jazz context, performing multiple roles as bassist, lead and soloist on the instrument, and featuring also some of the UK’s leading lights in world-influenced jazz – John Crawford on piano, and Demi Garcia Sabat on percussion

Originally trained under Raphael Wallfisch at the Guildhall School of Music, and Janos Starker in Paris, she subsequently moved to Jerusalem, where she worked with some of the region’s leading artists, including Avishai Cohen, Omer Avital, Khaled Jubran, Sabreen and Yasmin Levy.

Since moving back to London from Jerusalem, Smart has established herself firmly on both the jazz and world music scenes working with artists including Mulatu Astatke, Neil Cowley, Robert Mitchell, Misha Mullov-Abbado, Nikki Yeoh and Alice Zawadzki. Current projects in which she is involved also include Issie Barratt’s Interchange Dectet, which releases its debut album ‘Donna’s Secret’ in 2020 2019, and Nikki Yeoh’s trio project Cafe Oran which debuted at the Ronnie Scotts International Piano Trio Festival in 2019.

Shirley has appeared at numerous festivals in the UK and abroad and recent highlights include the Cheltenham Festival, EFG London Jazz Festival, Birmingham Jazz Festival and Vivacello Festival in Moscow. Upcoming performances include the Rye Arts Festival and Bimhuis, Amsterdam.

She is also a keen educator, and has given workshops for the National Youth Jazz Collective, Jazzlines, Trinity Laban and Kent University, She teaches Jazz and Improvisation at the RCMJD, and is Head of Performance and Lecturer in Music at City University.

Social Media Links Instagram : @shirlsmart     Facebook : Shirley Smart        Twitter : @shirlsmart

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