Blue Flamingo Entertainments

Blue Flamingo, Interview, Jazz, Musicians, Trombone


Interview with Trombone Player Ellie Smith

Was the trombone your first choice of instrument?

The violin was my first choice and trombone my second, which I started a year after.

Why did the trombone win out?

I enjoyed playing the violin (and still do now occasionally in a string quartet and I hope to do a bit of teaching) but I think I enjoyed the trombone more as I was involved in many groups and was a member of the Doncaster Jazz Association for many years.   The trombone became a much more interesting instrument, being able to play both classical and jazz music to a high level.  I will never forget my first rehearsal in the trombone section in my first big band up North!

Being a ‘Northerner’ have you found any difference in musical perspectives with ‘Southerners’?  Or is it irrelevant?

When I first moved to London I got the impression a lot of musicians thought they were better than people from the North, but I never felt that I was an inferior player.

How did your pre-Trinity musical life prepare you for Music College?

The music department was great at school, having a great head of music also helped.  He encouraged me to join many different musical activities both in and out of school.  I met lots of interesting people and learnt more advanced things about music.

So who have you learnt the most from?

I’d have to say the teachers I had at Trinity, and most of all, my trombone teacher Malcolm Earle Smith.  He knew my ‘technique of learning’ and could explain things in a way I could understand with regard to learning jazz and improvising.  His jazz vocal technique was also a great learning curve for me!

Tell us about the best gig you’ve ever done….

The best gig I’ve ever done would have to be recording Michael Bolton’s DVD at the Royal Albert Hall in November 2009.  Great experience, great place, great gig! 

 …The most inspiring gig?

The BBC Big Band (in various places)!  It would be incredible to be a part of that band in 10 years time!  Also watching trombone players Mark Nightingale and Gordon Campbell play inspires me to learn more new and exciting things!

…So your perfect gig would be?

To perform with the BBC Big Band, or to tour with Sting/Michael Bublé.

Do any Blue Flamingo memories stick out?

I really enjoy the 100 Club gigs as I love to watch the dancing, amazing!

If you weren’t a musician, what would your absolutely perfect job be?

I’d be a gymnast!  I used to love going to gymnastics seven days a week when I was 7/8 years old, went for around four years until music took over! I used to love doing competitions and meeting lots of different people.  It was an enjoyable hobby and one that I hated giving up!

What’s your most unusual habit?

Too weird to tell! [sounds ominous! ~BF]


Blue Flamingo 2011: Wisdom learnt, heard and seen

“take every gig you can, turn up on time, be smart, and be really nice to everyone” – Freddie Gavita

“be on time, do a professional job and be a friendly face…because everyone can play the snot out of their instruments these days” – Stan Sulzman to Emma Smith


“At a BF gig…at the London Korean Film Festival…as I walked in I asked…where we should set up.  The response was as if I was some sort of Hollywood film star…Perhaps I am huge in Korea” – Tom Stone


“Remember people, ‘sci-fi’ is a setting, not a genre” – Daoud Merchant

BELOW: Blue Flamingo went Pink, raising over £1000 for Cancer Research

TEAM BLUE FLAMINGO Race for Life 17.07.11

Here’s to 2012!  See you around!

First Published 5th Jan 2012