Live reviews

Shirley Smart Trio at St. Mary’s Church, Perivale

Shirley Smart Trio

(St. Mary’s Church, Perivale. 19 January 2022. Live Review by Peter Slavid)

Not yet a subscriber of our Wednesday Breakfast Headlines?
Join the mailing list for a weekly roundup of Jazz News.


L-R: Shirley Smart, John Crawford, Demi Garcia Sabat

There are very few modern jazz venues in West London, so it was refreshing to find some interesting music at this little known location. St Mary’s is a charming Grade-1 listed 12th Century church hiding just yards south of the A40. It’s a high-ceilinged room with excellent acoustics that has been home to piano and chamber music recitals for over fifteen years, currently twice weekly, and is now also home to monthly jazz events (link to listings below).

All the concerts are matinees, and all are now broadcast live, and subsequently made available on the church’s YouTube channel. Concerts are free, supported by donations.

This month’s concert came from the Shirley Smart trio. Shirley Smart (cello), John Crawford (piano) and Demi Garcia Sabat (drums). Shirley Smart crops up in all sorts of different bands and different settings from swing to avant-garde. She also has various teaching roles including as Head of Performance and as a lecturer in music at City University.

Crawford and Sabat both come with a background in Latin Jazz adding to the multicultural feel of the music.

On this occasion the bulk of the music came from their 2018 album Long Story Short. After ten years living in Jerusalem (described in this 2018 interview) Smart’s music has absorbed all sorts of influences, but this is always jazz, not just “world jazz”.

We heard a mixture of Shirley’s own compositions interspersed with some Middle Eastern and North African tunes. Her cello manages to segue seamlessly from providing a pizzicato bass line into being the lyrical lead instrument. All three are lyrical improvisers.

In these days when artists and venues alike are struggling I shall certainly be back to support this venue. Next up in February and March will be concerts from Matyas Gayer and then Benet Mclean.

Peter Slavid broadcasts a programme of European Jazz on and various internet stations

LINKS : St Mary’s Perivale

Shirley Smart is at the Vortex tonight 20 January, launching an album with Robert Mitchell

Leave a Reply