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Chesterfield Jazz presents Shirley Smart, cello
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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 band Melange.
Shirley teaches Improvisation and Jazz at the Royal College of Music and City University, and is a visiting tutor for the National Youth Jazz Collective.
“Proper jazz piano, excellent band. A very classy debut” – Dave Gelly, The Observer "Refreshing tribute to pianist singers like herself: Diana Krall, Nina Simone, Eliane Elias" - Jazzwise "Mellow and stylish" - Clive Davis, The Sunday Times "One of the great unsung heroines of British jazz. The lucid warmth of her singing is accompanied by her highly accomplished piano playing." The JazzMann "This first recording could just mark the beginning of much deserved recognition." Alan Barnes "Wendy is proof that great musicians are alive and kicking all around the UK and that they don’t have to be products of our music colleges to create high quality, entertaining music." Jim Mullen "I’ve had the pleasure of playing music with Wendy & Pat a few times & their relaxed attitude & superb musicianship means I always look forward to the next time!" Roger Beaujolais Wendy's musical career began at age 8, when she started taking piano lessons. She won a scholarship to have all her lessons paid for by Derbyshire Music, and continued to take her ABRSM piano grades. Switching to jazz in her late teens, Wendy continued her playing career as a dance class pianist, accompanist to singers and as a keyboardist in club bands. After being persuaded to sing by a great friend and guitarist, Bill McCreath, Wendy learned to reach people who are perhaps turned off by instrumental jazz, as she learnt to communicate with the audience through the songs. Wendy's voice has been likened to Blossom Dearie with hints of Diana Krall. Her influences range from Nat King Cole, Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald through Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans, Wynton Kelly to Chick Corea, Eliane Elias and Michel Petrucciani. Current projects include Piano Divas, a tribute to the female pianist singers of jazz; hammond organ jazz outfit Organik Fource featuring Pat Sprakes on guitar and guest saxophonist; Organik Trio Goes To The Movies and The Organik Cookbook celebrating the early soul-jazz albums of George Benson. Wendy is married to jazz guitarist and bass player Pat Sprakes. They met by chance on a gig and have been making music together ever since.
See Wendy Kirkland tour dates
UK established jazz guitarist who cut his teeth working with Tony Kofi in the 1990s. He was selected by Darius Brubeck to perform as part of his quartet based on a live performance. He performed for US superstar guitarist Robben Ford around the same time. Since then, Pat has been working with artists such as Wendy Kirkland, Alan Barnes, Jim Mullen, Karen Sharp, Nigel Price and has performed at clubs and festivals throughout the UK such as Brecon, Cheltenham, Edinburgh, Pershore, Marsden, and more.
See Pat Sprakes tour dates
Shirley, one of the UK's few jazz cellists, has spent many years living in Jerusalem, where she studied and performed a wide variety of world music from the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern region, as well as being highly involved with the jazz and improvised music scene. 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, Gilad Atzmon, Neil Cowley, Julian Ferraretto, Partikel Trio and Maurizio Minardi Group, as well as leading her own projects.
See Shirley Smart tour dates
Chesterfield Jazz Club
- Mullen Suite, The Olde House
- Loundsley Green Road
- S40 4RN