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  • Writer's pictureKristine England

Shirley Smart

UK cellist Shirley Smart infuses her jazz with classical, blues, and world music, Her eclecticism stems not only from her curiosity as a musician but also from a decade-long residence in the middle east that exposed her to a rich heritage of regional melodic and rhythmic traditions.

She began her studies on the cello with a focus on classical, studying at the Guildhall School of Music. From there she went to Paris and eventually Jerusalem, where her exposure to jazz and Mediterranean influences completed her education. Returning home, she worked her way into London scene and collaborated with many of the rising talents responsible for the resurgence of the genre, including Neil Cowley, the high priestess of psychedelic Arabic jazz Yazz Ahmed, and many others. Whether leading her own trio or performing with Melange, or the dectet ensemble Interchange, she continues to embrace a variety of musical forms. She’s also an educator, lecturing and leading workshops as well as the London Cello Society's Beyond Cello division.

Her first album under her own name, the aptly-named Long Story Short, was released in 2018. She’s spending the summer gigging around the UK before heading to Europe for additional dates in the fall.

Waltz for an Amethyst



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