Admission Price: Free to attend; please reserve a place
Two artists with highly individual voices and diverse backgrounds join forces to present a programme exploring a range of music through improvisation. Shirley and Robert met when working on Robert’s epic composition Invocation, premiered at the London Jazz Festival in 2014, and this project developed out of their conversations about improvisation, fluidity of genre and the central importance of both live interaction and spontaneity in performance.
Shirley Smart is a cellist with a unique fusion of influences. She draws on 10 years experience of living in Jerusalem, studying and performing music from the Mediterranean and Middle East, jazz and free improvisation. Since returning to the UK, she has established herself as one of the most creative and innovative cellistsin the UK, working with many leading jazz and world music groups, including Antonio Forcione, Mulato Astatke, Gilad Atzmon, Neil Cowley, Julian Ferraretto, Robert Mitchell, Kosmos Ensemble, Shekoyokh, and Alice Zawadski, as well as leading her own projects. She teaches Improvisation at the Royal College of Music Junior Department and at City, University of London, as well as the National Youth Jazz Collective and Jazzlines.
Robert Mitchell began serious piano studies at the age of 6 in the UK conservatoire system, while simultaneously developing a love of Soul, R&B, the popular music of the 70s and 80s; and drawing inspiration from the work of legendary pianists Art Tatum and Oscar Peterson "at just the right time for my ears and heart". Mitchell studied on the Bsc course at City, University of London and at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, emerging as an important member of the London scene with Quite Sane and Tomorrow’s Warriors. The diversity of the music by these groups–New York influenced fusion and hip-hop versus 1940s-60s bebop and hardbop–foretold Robert’s wide-angle view of Jazz expression. This led to further involvement with internationally known figures from both sides of the Atlantic, including Steve Coleman, Greg Osby, Courtney Pine and Steve Williamson.