Tuesday 21 April 2015

Shirley Smart - Maurizio Minardi - Kate Shortt

Shirley Smart - Cello
Shirley Smart is one of the 'fixers' on London's music scene, creating groups, projects and collaborations on a regular basis. Rarely is a gig the same twice, either a twist in terms of personnel or a shuffle of the musical pack. This night (15/03/2015) at the Green Note she was alongside accordionist Maurizio Minardi and followed by the multi-talents of Kate Shortt.

Not only was it the birthday of Shirley Smart but also Mother's Day, and being a caring daughter she had her mother close by in the crowd. It gave this inquisitive artist the chance to learn a little more about Smart's roots. It is quite a musical family tree that grows around her, brother Tim is a trombonist of note but the line of musicality stretches further as her grandfather was an accomplished pianist as is her uncle and mother.

Maurizio Minardi - Accordion
Early exchanges with her stage partner Maurizio Minardi yielded dancing cutlasses, adventure and whole cycles of narratives. There was pathos too, long drawn breaths from Minardi's accordion, drags of pity and salty beauty. There was a primness in the Shirley Smart penned Waltz that descended into several lines of enquiry like an Agatha Christie novel. It was traditional but with a side order of murder and humour.

We heard that chuckle again within Marcello, who's theme reached us from another century, from a time of imagination, one that unfurled at a slower pace. You could see the narrative etched into the face of the song's protagonist, perhaps he inhabited the light and dark of the fairground. The extent of our collective 'perhaps' were endless, such was the number of mental worlds created by this composition. The black book opened our mouths with slack wonder, it's dramatic surges left us all gasping for more but alas the climax was all too soon, even in the hands of Minardi, our Italian lover.

Kate Shortt - Cello and wit
The second half of the night was a one-hander from Kate Shortt, bringing us her unique combination of cello and comedy. It was a performance that twisted the dials of our genre-sensitive minds, hopping from station to station like a pre-digital radio sliding in and out of wave bands. Linear time doesn't exist with Shortt, she occupies a zone of her own, a world where everything and everyone becomes either subject matter or an instrument to play with.

Shirley Smart and Maurizio Minardi will be playing at The Crypt, St.Martin-in-the-Fields on the 20th May 2015 with Minardi's quartet.
Book tickets HERE.


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