After studying music at Salford University and the postgraduate course at the Guildhall School of Music, Nick Smart quickly established himself as a busy jazz trumpeter and educator. He has performed with numerous groups including the Stan Sulzmann Big Band, London Jazz Orchestra, Michael Garrick Big Band, BBC Big Band and is the regular soloist with the James Taylor Quartet.
In 2005 Nick released his debut album “Remembering Nick Drake” to critical acclaim. The album featured Smart’s arrangements of Nick Drake’s music played by an all star line-up including John Parricelli, Paul Clarvis, Christine Tobin and Stan Sulzmann amongst others. It was described by Straight No Chaser magazine as “…a future classic because it really captures all that is best about British jazz….” and by John Fordham in Jazz UK as “…fascinating music devoted to a fascinating inspiration.” In December 2008 Nick released his trio album “Remembering Louis Armstrong” featuring Hans Koller and Paul Clarvis. The trio pay tribute to Louis Armstrong in their own creative way by exploring some of the iconic repertoire associated with him throughout his life. In their review of the album the Vortex Jazz Club said that they “strip the music down to its essentials creating intriguing, cogent improvisations in the process. An unusual, absorbing programme of music.”
Nick has been increasingly sought after in jazz education. After successfully setting up school jazz projects for Bedfordshire and Camden, Nick was invited to create and direct the Royal Academy of Music Junior Jazz Course. Students of the course have since worked alongside many guests including Dave Liebman, Tim Garland, and the course Patron, Kenny Wheeler.
Nick was soon appointed Jazz Co-ordinator and then Bmus Tutor at the Royal Academy. Amongst other roles there, he teaches the Jazz LRAM pedagogical diploma and directs the Big Band. Under Nick’s direction recent Big Band projects have included performances with Peter Erskine, John Taylor, Stan Sulzmann and Kenny Wheeler. Nick is also currently on the faculty at the Guildhall School of Music and Middlesex University, as well as a regular tutor on various Jazz summer schools including Glamorgan, Wavendon, Burnley and Trinity.
As a consultant to new jazz projects Nick has been involved with the creation of the National Youth Jazz Collective, is on the team of presenters for the Associated Board, helped the Corps of Army Music set up their Big Band and has given numerous master classes and workshops around the country.