Tuesday 21st February 2023
Emma Smith's "star is on the ascendant".
A bold self-penned quote within her biography, a lyric from the opening track "I Don't Care" of her album "Meshuga Baby", and also just a plain fact.
She has an admirably high level of ambition, a thoroughly natural and charming stage presence, and also adores our precious jazz music.
So perhaps it should not have surprised us when Emma replied to our invitation with "I would absolutely love to bring what I do down to Epsom! Let's talk dates!".
It being pianist Jamie Safir's second visit eased some of our nerves, but this was always going to be a special night. All four of these performers are phenomenally talented and hugely in demand but the capacity audience in attendance were fully aware as they enthusiastically showed appreciation to the Quartet for taking the time to visit their hometown.
A wonderful rendition of George & Ira Gershwin's "But Not For Me" opened the show, swiftly followed by characterful performances of "I Don't Care" and "Makin' Whoopee". This evening there were no run-of-the-mill numbers, everything was marvellously and emotively personal.
The penultimate song of the first set is best described by Nigel Price, who was in attendance: "She did 'There's No Business Like Show Business'. Down tempo, poignant and with a preamble about the bullshit they tried to feed us about artists 'retraining' in IT etc. Just brilliant."
Signed copies of her Vinyl were snapped up during the interval before launching into the second set with "Too Close For Comfort". A Smith/Safir original composition also sparkled in this half; "Sit On My Knee And Tell Me That You Love Me" can't help but raise a smile everywhere it's performed.
Emma confidently commanded the stage throughout the evening with her powerful vocals, but also generously afforded her loyal band of Jamie Safir, Conor Chaplin & Luke Tomlinson numerous solo opportunities.
Just a few weeks later Emma was invited to perform with Jeff Goldblum & The Mildred Snitzer Orchestra at their two London shows (Ronnie Scott's & Royal Festival Hall). We wish her hearty congratulations, continued success in all that she sets out to accomplish, and eternal gratitude for accepting our invitation.