Smart/Arben Duo

'Entanglement' released 2020 on FMR Records


James Arben - tenor sax/flute/bassclarinet

Shirley Smart - cello

Alex Hawkins - piano

Liran Donin - bass

Jon Scott - drums

Album coming in 2021!


Duo project with the brilliant pianist Robert Mitchell. I was lucky to work with Robert on his epic composition Invocation, premiered at the London Jazz Festival in 2014, and this project developed out of our conversations about improvisation, fluidity of genre and the central importance of both live interaction and spontaneity in performance.


A duo album will be released in 2021

Shirley Smart - cello

Robert Mitchell - piano

Live dates here


Interchange is an exciting new jazz dectet comprising ten of the nation’s most innovative jazz composers and improvisers pushing at the boundaries and blurring all the edges. Formed by Issie Barratt in 2017, ten of the UK’s leading female musicians combine in a fascinating new initiative playing new music from women composers representing a breadth and diversity that crosses generations and cultural backgrounds. 

With a fabulous programme of ten new works, commissioned from members of the group, and supported by PRS for Music, each piece is highly individual, and keenly exploring the full emotional spectrum while collectively pushing the composed and the improvised to the max.

00:00 / 11:32

Live dates here


Collaboration with Alya Al-Sulltani on vocals, and Clemens Poetzch on piano/fluid piano performing improvised music around themes of Iraqi and Arabic folk music and new classical composition.

Their EP "Sawa" was released in 2016, and features one of the few recordings available on the world's on;y fluid piano.

Alya Al-Sultani - vocals

Shirley Smart - cello

Clemens Poetszch - piano/fluid piano

Buy CD here

Buy digital download here

Live dates here

Sawa live broadcast on BBC Radio 3 - listen/buy here


Sefiroth is a 10-piece electro-acoustic chamber ensemble playing contemporary interpretations of traditional Sephardic (Judeo-Spanish) repertoire, much of which dates back to the Medieval period and draws upon Arabic, Turkish, Greek and Eastern European influence

The musicians in the ensemble represent several nationalities and between them are versed in a wide range of musical idioms including Balkan, Middle Eastern, Arabic, klezmer, rock, jazz, early and contemporary classical, electronic and improvised music

Olesya Zdorovetska - voice

Alice Zawadzki - voice, violin

Nick Roth - saxophones, furulya

Alex Bonney - trumpet, electronics

Paul Tkachenko - euphonium, tuba

Shirley Smart - cello

Alex Roth - guitar, effects

Francesco Turrisi - piano, percussion

Ruth Goller - electric bass

Simon Roth - drums, percussion

Arvoles lloran por lluvia EP

Buy digital download here

Live dates here


An eclectic new project, this group combines the worlds of jazz, world music and classical, featuring the intimate chamber instrumentation of violin, guitar, cello and accordion and an elegant yet fiery fusion of improvisation and written music.

Ranging from Parisian and American Jazz, the Chaabi music of Algeria, Tango from Argentina, Balkan folk melodies through to the early modern and folk music of Western Europe, Balagan fuses these threads into a coherent and characteristic sound world.

‘…this is music for the ears, heart and feet.’

Christian Miller - guitar

Richard Jones - violin

Shirley Smart - cello

Buy CD here

Live dates here

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