Live jazz, artists, venues and education in Leicester
Head of Jazz at the Royal Academy of Music in London, Nick Smart is an internationally renowned jazz educator, trumpeter and musical director who has given guest masterclasses and performances around the world. In 2013 he was awarded the prestigious UK Parliamentary Award for Jazz Education, and in 2015 awarded Honorary Membership of the Royal Academy of Music. At home he is recognised as one of the leading musicians on the UK jazz scene, where as well as being in regular demand as a sideman to players of all generations, he continues to record and tour with his own projects. In 2005 Nick released his debut album as leader â€œRemembering Nick Drakeâ€ to critical acclaim throughout Europe. The album, described by Straight No Chaser magazine as â€œ...a future classic because it really captures all that is best about British jazz....â€ featured Smartâ€™s arrangements of Nick Drakeâ€™s music played by an all star lineÂup including John Parricelli, Paul Clarvis, Christine Tobin and Stan Sulzmann amongst others. In December 2008 the Nick Smart Trio released a highly praised followÂup album, â€œRemembering Louis Armstrongâ€ Clarvis. His latest band, Nick Smartâ€™s Trogon, merges contemporary jazz sounds with Afro Cuban concepts and released their album "Tower Casa" on Babel Records in November 2013. It received 4 star reviews in Jazzwise and the Guardian, who described it as "an undemonstratively idiosyncratic fusion, and Smart plays with brightness, tight timing and subtle intonation throughout." His versatility as a trumpet player and his work at the upper echelons of Jazz Education has allowed him to perform alongside many international jazz stars in a variety of contexts, from Jazz Festival appearances to summer school concerts. These have included George Russell, Dave Holland, Bob Brookmeyer, Dave Liebman, John Hollenbeck, the New York Voices, Mike Gibbs and Dave Douglas, as well as most of the leading names on the UK jazz scene. Amongst other things, Nick was a member of the late Kenny Wheeler's Big Band with whom he had a long association and is currently coÂwriting Wheeler's biography as part of a PhD at the Royal Academy of Music. He plays in a new quartet from, featuring Hans Koller and Paul saxophonist Stan Sulzmann and has recorded on the most recent album of vocalist Christine Tobin in her interpretations of Leonard Cohen songs. He also performs and records internationally as the regular soloist with the famous James Taylor Quartet, Outside of Jazz, Nick has been invited to work as a session musician in a variety of pop and rock bands. Amongst other things he recorded two albums for the band â€œSpiritualizedâ€ and undertook a World tour performing on â€œLater with Jools Hollandâ€ â€œTop of the Popsâ€ and the â€œTonight Show with Jay Lenoâ€. He also recorded on the Mercury winning album â€œThe Seldom Seen Kidâ€ by the band â€œElbowâ€. As an educator Nick was invited to establish the Junior Academy Jazz programme in 2003, it is now one of the UKâ€™s most successful pathways into higher jazz education. And in July 2010 he was appointed to his position as Head of the Jazz department. In this role he has further cemented the Academyâ€™s position as the leading place to study Jazz, he was responsible for the founding of the Jazz BMus as an independent programme and established some highly successful initiatives including the Kenny WheelerPrize and the International Jazz Artist in Residence scheme. As well as giving guest masterclasses at institutions throughout Europe, the USA and further, Nick remains committed to youtheducation through his work with the National Youth Jazz Collective and as a consultant to NYJO London. As an acclaimed musical director of large ensembles, Nick has been invited to lead projects with big bands all over the world. He has been a guest director of European Big Band projects in Paris, Tallin and the Jazz Institute Berlin, and last year was the guest director of the Grahamstown Festival Big Band in South Africa. And at home he conducts the Stan Sulzmann â€œNeon Orchestraâ€ the award winning Troyka large ensemble, recently Julian Siegelâ€™s Jazz Orchestra. â€œJTQâ€. â€œTroykestraâ€, and most
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