Tommy Smith


Tommy Smith "Symbiosis"featuring Brian Kellock (piano), Tommy Smith (saxophone)

  1. Without A Song
  2. Cherokee
  3. You’ve Changed
  4. Don’t Blame Me
  5. Moonlight In Vermont
  6. Manhattan
  7. Skylark
  8. Honeysuckle Rose
  9. Pure Imagination
  10. Bernie’s Tune
  11. You Must Believe In Spring
[audio:|titles=Tommy Smith – Symbiosis – Without A Song]


John Fordham (The Guardian) — A rematch for the Scottish saxophone-and-piano partnership of Tommy Smith and Brian Kellock, following their fine debut on a standards repertoire with Bezique. Once again, the themes are from the Broadway songbook, and once again the standard of playing and the empathy between these two – who can play anything they can think, and who increasingly think of things other people don’t – is subtly captivating.

Smith’s beautiful tenor tone on Without a Song is trancelike before the swing cranks up, while the usually headlong Cherokee is taken at a deliberately slow purr. You’ve Changed makes the tenor sound like Johnny Hodges’ fluting alto, and Kellock’s crystalline intro to Skylark is briefly exquisite. The wispy epilogue on Michel Legrand’s You Must Believe in Spring, meanwhile, turns on the saxophonist’s uncanny control of timbre.

Smith is now established as the Jan Garbarek of orthodox jazz, and this scintillating partnership – for those who reach for the off switch when standards surface – represents a respectful and creative definition of what it can still be in the 21st century.