Edinburgh Fringe 2018
Another glorious 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. More pure jazz gold.
To a busy Jazz Bar on Chambers Street where a lot of music fans had either foregone lunch, opted for a liquid one or perhaps were just content to feast on the delicious smorgasbord of boogie-woogie, hard bop, soul, blues and New Orleans Jazz offered up by Daniel Smith in an hour of sublime musical mayhem.
The smooth-talking Smith, a man with fingers so dexterous that he seems to be playing well in excess of ten notes at any one time, wasted no time in getting us underway with Chewin’ The Fat and barely had the applause died away but he was off again, this time with Can’t Stand Your Evil Ways, an Otis Spann Chicago blues number.
So the pattern continued in this high-octane hour. Bursts of brilliant music were interspersed with entertaining, droll patter that provided the background to each piece, revealing Smith’s 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. Think Jools Holland, but with decent jokes.
But it’s the music that’s the centre of this wonderful hour of entertainment. We had a set that incorporated several of Smith’s own delightful compositions, including Forgotten Hero and You and Me, to which he added numbers from the Shelton Brothers, Professor Longhair, Pinetop Smith and several others. We even had time for what maybe the first ever Boogie-Woggie/Flamenco combo, a tune so new that he’s not really settled on a name for it yet.
Accompanying Smith this year was the accomplished jazz guitarist, Scott Hannah and bass player Rod Kinnaird. And, despite the fact that this trio last clocked eyes on each other nearly a year ago, one short late night rehearsal and a few drinks later and they’re ready to roll.
And roll they did as there’s real trust and chemistry between these musicians, with Hannah and Kinnaird happy to follow Smith’s lead and having no difficulty in putting together a jamming bridge at about a second’s notice. Smith calling the 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 this trio are absolute masters of their craft.
This was really great music and the appreciative audience would have happily settled 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.