Nick graduated in 1997 from Salford University, where he was awarded the Malcolm Arnold Prize for the most outstanding trumpet player. He set up the Bedford SMMS jazz department and Camden Schools Jazz Ensemble and was on the faculty of the Middlesex University jazz course, Colchester Institute and the Royal Academy of Music.
In 2005 Nick released his debut album, Remembering Nick Drake, to critical acclaim. The album featured his arrangements of Nick Drake’s music played by an all-star line-up including John Parricelli, Paul Clarvis, Christine Tobin and Stan Sulzmann. It was described by Straight No Chaser magazine as “…a future classic because it really captures all that is best about British jazz….”
In December 2008 Nick released his highly praised trio album, Remembering Louis Armstrong, featuring Hans Koller and Paul Clarvis. His latest band, Nick Smart’s Trogon, merges contemporary jazz sounds with Afro Cuban concepts.
Nick’s versatility as a trumpet player has allowed him to perform alongside many international jazz stars including George Russell, Bob Brookmeyer, John Hollenbeck, the New York Voices, Mike Gibbs and Dave Douglas, as well as most of the leading names on the UK jazz scene.
Amongst other things Nick is a member of the Kenny Wheeler Big Band and saxophonist Stan Sulzmann’s quartet, and has recorded for vocalist Christine Tobin’s album of her interpretations of Leonard Cohen songs.
As an acclaimed musical director of large ensembles, Nick conducts the Stan Sulzmann Big Band (Neon Orchestra) and the Troyka large ensemble, Troykestra. He also performs internationally as a regular soloist with the James Taylor Quartet.
In 2013 he was the winner of the prestigious Parliamentary Award for Jazz Education. In the UK he is recognised as one of the leading musicians on the London jazz scene, where he is in regular demand as a sideman to players of all generations as well as being a NYJO Associate.