Edinburgh Fringe 2016
An hour of musical mayhem from the talented fingers of Daniel Smith, featuring boogie-woogie, hard bop, soul, blues, New Orleans Jazz and several other genre besides. Pure jazz gold.
To a busy Jazz Bar on Chambers Street where a lot of music fans had ditched the Sunday roast and opted instead for a serving of boogie-woogie, hard bop, soul, blues and New Orleans Jazz in an hour of sublime musical mayhem.
At the centre of all this was the smooth-talking Daniel Smith, a man with fingers so dexterous that he seems to be playing well in excess of ten notes at any one time. His patter, which provides an entertaining bit of background to each piece, reveals a passion for all forms of jazz and jamming as well as a striking ability to tell a good story, often whilst tinkling away in the background. He’s a sort of Jools Holland but with decent jokes.
But it’s the music that’s the centre of this wonderful hour of entertainment. Where else could we start and finish but with Bach who remains the source of much inspiration for many jazz fiends. We had a set that incorporated several of his own delightful compositions, including Forgotten Hero, On The Outside Looking In and St James’ Gate to which he added numbers from Robert Johnson (I Got Ramblin On My Mind), Roosevelt Sykes (Honeydripper), Gerald Duppler (aka Tommy Tucker and his Hi-Heel Sneakers) and a few snatches of Pine Tops Smith, Ramsay Lewis, Herbie Hancock and several others. Instrumentals were mixed with his gravelly blues voice and his audience needed no encouragement to join in some of the well-known choruses.
Accompanying him was the accomplished jazz guitarist, Scott Hannah and there’s clearly a trust and chemistry between these two musicians, with Hannah happy to follow Smith’s lead and having no difficulty in putting together a jamming bridge at about a second’s notice following a hissed whisper from his colleague. Smith calling key changes as they went through some of the numbers also added a delightful air of informality to proceedings, as well as reinforcing the fact that both he and Hannah are absolute masters of their craft.
This was really great music and the appreciative audience would have happily settled in for a second set had time permitted. Sadly it didn’t but he’s doing gigs on various days with various other musicians so this is an event well worth seeking out. But get there early if you want to get a seat as this is compulsory listening for anyone who has difficulty in keeping their feet still.