Line-up: NISHLA SMITH vocals, songs; AARON WOOD trumpet; RICHARD JONES piano; JOSHUA CAVANAGH-BRIERLEY bass; OHNNY HUNTER drums
"Nishla Smith’s original ballads sound like standards from the American Songbook … maudlin moments shoulder ecstatic reveries…" London Jazz News
Smith’s work moves swiftly through genres, driven by her unique artistry. Tonight is the album launch of Nishla’s debut album with the quintet ‘Friends With Monsters’ and confirms Smith as a major new vocal talent in the UK and sees the vocalist’s affinity for inventive narratives extended over the span of a full album.
Nishla is a singer and songwriter who defies easy categorisation: her live sets include a breathtaking variety of material, from celebrated originals to dark jazz standards and devastating ballads. Her often dreamy and melancholic aura is offset by an energetic and imaginative band of Manchester’s finest young contemporary improvisers. Formed out of a residency at Sage Gateshead, the Nishla Smith Quintet are part of Jazz North’s Northern Line artist roster and performs regularly throughout the UK.
Singer Nishla Smith creates vivid, enigmatic stories through sound, her voice stretching from melancholic sweetness through to dark intimacy. The Australian performer travelled via Berlin to eventually settle in Manchester and is joined here by some of the city’s most talented improvisers. Richard Jones and Johnny Hunter cover piano and drums respectively, whilst bassist Joshua Cavanagh-Brierley and trumpeter Aaron Wood add graceful touches to complete the quintet’s intimate feel. Smith’s depictions of night-time have an enigmatic quality, inviting listeners on an atmospheric journey but all the while pointing to something greater.
Outside of her work with the quintet, Nishla is a prolific composer and collaborator. She’s recently made work for Opera North, Lancaster Jazz Festival, Britten Pears Arts and Manchester Collective. Nishla is a City Music Foundation artist, and one third of cross-disciplinary arts collective, Ulita. She’s currently writing new music for the Manchester Jazz Festival Originals Commision as half of Night Porter; and developing a new song cycle for East Neuk Festival in partnership with St Andrews University.
The Nishla Smith Quintet is a Jazz North Northern Line ambassador ensemble supported by Jazz North using public funding from Arts Council England.