Emma Smith marks an important but sad anniversary with a lunchtime gig this Saturday:
I’m really excited to be returning to the London Jazz Festival this year with my String Quartet Project. This gig is very special to me because it marks the anniversary of my Grandad’s passing. My grandfather, trombonist and arranger Chris Smith Snr was a huge influence on me musically growing up so it seems appropriate that I get the opportunity to perform a selection of pieces I’ve written that have been inspired by him. We are performing a lunch time gig at the fabulous Pizza Express Dean St. 1pm on Sat 23rd Nov.
I’ve been working with this group for some time now and was initially attracted to the project out of curiosity. I have found the collaboration between the jazz and classical sound world extremely rewarding and at the same time challenging. The line-up is my wonderful jazz trio (Rob Barron– Keys, Tom Farmer– Bass, Jon Scott- drums) and the Anoushka String Quartet.
I’ve found that the process of writing for this ensemble has been a huge learning curve, and I’m constantly finding new combinations of instruments and textures that have broadened my concept of what is possible within this lineup. I’m currently enjoying trying to find new and innovative ways to write for the different characters and voices in the band, which in turn inspires me to check out lots of different music which I feel results in something completely unique and very personal.
There is a real eclectic mix of repertoire from Bjork to Wayne Shorter, right through to some modern day surprises, like Rihanna.
Since graduating from the Royal Academy of Music this July I have discovered the joy in combining different genres within my composing and arranging. My time at the Academy will always be very special to me because it allowed me to fully immerse myself in jazz, but the reality of being a working musician performing within a wide spectrum of idioms has opened my eyes to various different genres.
I have performed at the London Jazz Festival every year since I was 16 and it has always been a huge privilege but also a challenge to return each time with something fresh and unique. I’m really looking forward to sharing this music with you all.