Edinburgh Fringe 2015
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 heaving Jazz Bar on Chambers Street where clearly a lot of music fans had foregone a roast dinner and opted instead for a serving of boogie-woogie, hard bop, soul, blues and New Orleans Jazz in what was an hour of 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 jokes.
But music was at 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 included numbers from Chester Burnett, Ramsey Lewis, Chuck Berry, Pine Top Smith, , Meade Lux Lewis, Joe Zawinul (he of the 1970’s fusion band Weather Report) and some of Smith’s own compositions. His gravelly blues voice was also heard in a number of well-known covers, including Berry’s “Johnny Be Good”, which gave his audience something to sing along to.
Accompanying him was the accomplished bass player, Rod Kennard and there’s clearly a trust and chemistry between these two musicians, with Kennard 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 Kennard 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.