Posts Tagged ‘Tommy Smith’


Sunday, August 29th, 2010

Tommy Smith "Azure"featuring Tommy Smith (Saxophones),  Kenny Wheeler (Trumpet & Flugel Horn), Lars Danielsson (Bass), Jon Christensen (Drums)

  1. Gold Of The Azure
  2. Escape Ladder
  3. Siesta
  4. Smile Of Flamboyant Wings
  5. Vowel Song
  6. Constellation The Morning Star
  7. Calculation
  8. Dancer
  9. Dialogue Of The Insects
  10. Blue (parts 1-3)

Beasts of Scotland

Sunday, August 29th, 2010

Tommy Smith "Beasts of Scotland"featuring Tommy Smith (Tenor & Soprano Saxophones), Guy Barker (Trumpet, Flumpet, Flugel Horn), Andy Panayi (Flute & Alto Saxophone), Steve Hamilton (Piano & Synthesiser), Alec Dankworth (Bass), Tom Gordon (Drums & Percussion)

  1. Golden Eagle
  2. Salmon
  3. Midge
  4. Wolf
  5. Red Deer
  6. Gannet
  7. Conger Eel
  8. Spider
  9. Seal
  10. Wildcat

About the Music

Music by Tommy Smith
Commissioned by the Glasgow International Jazz Festival in association with the Scottish Arts Council

Poetry by Edwin Morgan
Commissioned by the Glasgow International Jazz Festival

Edwin Morgan
Edwin Morgan is one of Scotland’s leading poets today. He was born in Glasgow in 1920 and held the chair of Professor of English at Glasgow University until 1980 when he retired. His books include: Collected Poems (Carcanet, 1990; paperback, 1996); Cyrano de Bergerac (translation of Rostand’s play into Scots, 1992) and Sweeping Out of the Dark (Carcanet, 1994). He has also collaborated with various composers on opera librettos and his own poems have been set to music by (among others) Martin Dalby and Archie Fisher.


The Herald — The pairing of Tommy Smith’s compositional talents with Edwin Morgan’s poetry has produced a work that is, let’s not get all modest about this, absolutely wonderful.

Blue Smith

Sunday, August 29th, 2010

Tommy Smith "Blue Smith"featuring Tommy Smith (tenor & soprano saxophone), James Genus (acoustic bass), John Scofield (guitar), Clarence Penn (drums)

  1. El Nino
  2. Hubba Hubba
  3. Rain Dance
  4. Dr Sco
  5. Touch Your Toes
  6. Amazing Grace
  7. Blacken’ Blue
  8. The Blues Blew Blue
  9. Eany Meany Miny Mo
  10. Miracle
  11. Dr Smith


The Herald — Smith dug into his long-aquired jazz resources to reveal yet further depths of authority, with the urge to stretch a tune to its limits tempered by a warmth of feeling and a bluesy sense of communication.

Such has been the often ephemeral nature of Tommy Smith’s many bands over the years that it’s almost inevitable that the group he assembled to promote his latest album, Blue Smith, contains, aside from the saxophonist himself, only one member of the group, bassist James Genus, which recorded it. The again, such are the circles Smith moves in these days that swooping pianist Dave Kikoski for guitarist John Scofield and switching drummers, Greg Hutchinson for Clarence Penn, meant no dilution of the album’s New York keenness in its transfer to the concert platform. True to the title, Blue Smith finds Smith exploring one of jazz’s most fundamental ingredients in a manner some distance removed from the Jan Garbarek-like austerity he has previously embraced. With his Big Apple-based rhythm section providing springy, elastic, and, in Kokoski’s case, sometimes urgently percussive impetus, Smith dug into his long-acquired jazz resources to reveal yet further depths of authority, with the urge to stretch a tune to its limits tempered by a warmth of feeling and a bluesy sense of communication. The Garbarek-styled Rain Dance, played on soprano to sparse accompaniment, provided a reminder of Smith’s European leanings and a contrasting bucolic interlude in an otherwise distictly urban session. With Hutchinson at his flexible, irresistable best, the quartet maintained a groovy momentum during pieces such as the skittish Dr Sco and the new Orleans boogaloo of Hubba Hubba. On disc these are fairly succinct but they lent themselves here to some prolonged, inventive examinations examinations, not least from Kikoski, an angular, awkard-looking presence on the piano stool but, as he’s proved over here before, a dynamic, stirring force on the keyboard.

HMV Choice — At the remarkably young (for a jazzer) age of 32, Scots saxophonist Tommy Smith unleashes his 15th album. Bluesmith’s retrospective feel is due to both his seizing on the blues for inspiration (though 12-bar fanatics beware: this is pure hardcore jazz), and e reunion with master guitarist John Scofield, who guested on Smith’s first Blue Note label release a decade ago. Smith’s looked back to leap forward, and these 11 challenging cuts suggest more to come.

The Sunday Post — Tommy Smith’s new CD Blue Smith is well up to his high standards, with great jazz inspired by the blues. It’s out now on Linn Records.

Rough Guide — Flourishing on his current label after a brief spell with Blue Note, Scottish saxophonist Tommy Smith takes a break from his recent more concept-orientated approach to recording on this pleasingly informal yet utterly professional New York session. After his thorough-composed suites, collaborations with poets and ventures into smooth balladry and classical music, an album devoted to original blues – ringing the changes between funky shuffles, dreamy smooches, easy lopes and raunchy bustles – allows Smith the relax and stretch out in world-class company. His cultured, elegant sound blends well with John Scofield’s multi-textured guitar work, and the rich variety of the material makes this Smith’s most immediately appealing album for some time.

Sound Of Love

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

Tommy Smith "Sound of Love"featuring Tommy Smith (tenor saxophone), Kenny Barron (piano), Peter Washington (bass), Billy Drummond (drums)

  1. Johnny Come Lately
  2. Star Crossed Lovers
  3. In a Sentimental Mood
  4. Flower Is a Lovesome Thing
  5. Chelsea Bridge
  6. Isfahan
  7. Duke Ellington’s Sound of Love
  8. Sophisticated Lady
  9. Passion Flower
  10. Solitude
  11. Prelude to a Kiss
  12. Cottontail


Monday, August 23rd, 2010

Tommy Smith "Gymnopédie"featuring Tommy Smith (tenor saxophone), Murray McLachlan (piano)

  1. Gymnopedie
  2. Bagpipe Music
  3. Gnossienne No.1
  4. Children’s Song No.7
  5. Arietta
  6. Children’s Song No.6
  7. Notturno
  8. Bulgarian Rhythm No.1
  9. Gnossiene No.3
  10. Je Te Veux

Hall Of Mirrors (Tommy Smith 1993)

  1. Mirror Talk
  2. The Looking Glass
  3. There is a Mirror Only You Can See
  4. Hologram

Dreaming With Open Eyes (Tommy Smith 1995, inspired by Mike Tucker’s book “Dreaming With Open Eyes”)

  1. Call of the Shaman
  2. The Promise and the Search
  3. A Heap of Broken Images
  4. Journeys Home, Destination Unknown


Inverness Courier — Powerful yet lyrical works, they offer opportunities for improvisation and Smith employs a jazzman’s expressive tone to haunting and thrilling effect.

Inverness Courier — The Scottish jazz saxophonist, composer and orchestra leader works frequently with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the BT Scottish Ensemble and pianist Murray McLachlan who accompanies him on this programme of music by Satie, Bartok, Grieg and the jazz pianist Chick Corea, tasty morsels which are appetisers for more substantial fare – Smith’s two sonatas for saxophone and piano whose influences range from Prokofiev to the Norwegian saxophonist Jan Garbarek and songwriter Eubie Blake. Powerful yet lyrical works, they offer opportunities for improvisation and Smith employs a jazzman’s expressive tone to haunting and thrilling effect.

Burton Daily Mail — Thus jazz saxophonist Tommy Smith, along with leading classical concert pianist Murray McLachlan, are superb on Smith’s first classical album, Gymnopedie (Linn Records CD). The title track is one of three haunting compositions from Erik Satie. There are two from Bela Bartok, who himself was inspired by the folk music of Eastern Europe, two from Edward Greig and two from Chick Corea. This CD will be remembered however for the two sonatas written by Smith himself for sax and piano. Each is of four movements, and a wide range of moods and emotions is con jured up by these two remarkable musicians. These two works, Hall of Mirrors and Dreaming with Open Eyes, deserve the full attention of classical buffs.

The List (Glasgow & Edinburgh) — Saxophonist Tommy Smith draws on his well-established duo with pianist Murray McLachlan in his first classical disc. As well as the title piece and three other imaginative reconstructions of music by Satie, the disc features minatures by Bartok, Chick Corea and Grieg as an extended prelude to Smith’s own pair of meatier sonatas, a structure which replicates the form favoured in their concerts. The progression from Hall of Mirrors – Sonata No.1 to Dreaming With Open Eyes – Sonata No.2 reveals a marked advance in the saxophonist’s formal compositional technique, but both are impressive and exciting pieces, and are superbly played and vividly recorded.

The Falcon Radio — This is truly wonderful. Tommy’s own two compositions are a bit too jazzy for my classical programme but his interpretations of other composers especially Satie are devine. Very definitely for sultry summer evenings and I’ll be including more during the summer.

The Recorder Magazine — Although representing the classical side of saxophonist Tommy Smith, there is no escaping the jazz influence, not only on his sensuous performance of Satie, and supercharged interpretations of Bartok, but also on the two very individual sonatas of his own. Classical pianist Murray McLachlan enters entirely into the spirit of Smith’s art. If you can imagine a recorder jazz album by Piers Adams you will understand what this disc is all about.


Monday, August 23rd, 2010

Tommy Smith "Spartacus"featuring Tommy Smith (Tenor Saxophone), Kenny Barron (Piano), James Genus (Bass), Clarence Penn (Drums)

  1. The Peacocks
  2. I Want To Be Happy
  3. Emily
  4. Bye Bye Blackbird
  5. It Never Changed My Mind
  6. The Lady Is A Tramp
  7. When I’m All Alone
  8. Spartacus
  9. I Loves You Porgy


John Fordham (The Guardian) ***** — CD of the WeekThis beautifully recorded acoustic jazz record was made at Clinton Studios in New York City on 27th Spetember 2002. The technique of recording direct to 2-track analogue is used by many jazz musicians as it captures the performance, in the moment, and also adds a natural warm lushish sound to the recording; as you would hear it acoustically. James Farber, New York’s most famous recording engineer, becomes a member of the band as he has to mix in real time, as the music is played.

The Christmas Album

Sunday, August 22nd, 2010

Tommy Smith "The Christmas Album"featuring Tommy Smith (tenor saxophone), Gareth Williams (piano), Orlando Le Fleming (bass), Sebastiaan De Krom (drums)

  1. Winter Wonderland
  2. God Rest, Ye Merry Gentlemen
  3. Auld Land Syne
  4. I’ll Be Home For Christmas
  5. The Holy & The Ivy
  6. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
  7. We Three Kings
  8. The Christmas Song


John Fordham (The Guardian) — This might sound a bit of a turkey, as you might say, since it’s composed entirely Christmas songs, played by Scottish saxophonist Smith and a trio. But it’s impressive how well the sentimentality is replaced by a mysterious, almost abstract air. Winter Wonderland becomes a glimmering musical landscape rather than a Christmas card, with Smith’s haunting tenor sax curling over Gareth Williams’ enigmatic piano riff, and God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen is a hard-toned, thundering Coltrane-quartet swinger. Smith’s superb tone control at low volumes poignantly reinvents Silent Night; Auld Lang Syne has a cocky strut to it, and Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas murmurs like a drier Ben Webster before turning to the lazy mid-tempo swing effortlessly furnished by Orlando leFleming (bass) and Sebastiaan de Krom (drums). Whatever he does, Smith sounds like a man in charge these days.

Into Silence

Sunday, August 22nd, 2010

Tommt Smith "Into Silence"featuring Tommy Smith (tenor & soprano saxophones & bells)

  1. The Scream
  2. Oran Na Politician
  3. Naima
  4. Libra
  5. Capella
  6. Ad Te Levavi
  7. Deneb
  8. My Romance
  9. Orion
  10. Aquila
  11. Phoenix
  12. Tibi, Christe, Splendor Patris
  13. Cassiopedia
  14. My One & Only Love
  15. Perseus
  16. Ursa Minor
  17. ‘S Ann Aig Posrt Taigh N H-Airigh
  18. Cetus
  19. Lynx
  20. Indus
  21. Vela
  22. Gradual
  23. Draco
  24. Alleluia
  25. Collect
[audio:|titles=Tommy Smith – Into Silence – Naima]

About the Music

This recording features 25 improvisations, folk songs, ballads and some Gregorian Chants within the beautiful and haunting reverberation of the Hamilton Mausoleum.

Alone At Last

Sunday, August 22nd, 2010

Tommy Smith "Alone At Last"featuring Tommy Smith (tenor & soprano saxes, synth, samples & percussion), Edwin Morgan (poetry), Kenny Barron (piano), James Genus (bass), Clarence Penn (drums), Groven Myhren (soprano vocal), Steve Hamilton (synth & computers samples), Aidan O’Donnell (bass), John Blease (drums, gongs & pionciana pod)

  1. Ally The Wallygator
  2. Into Silence
  3. Wolf
  4. Mercury
  5. Twin Towers
  6. Robert Burns
  7. Over The Rainbow
  8. In The Cave
  9. Folk Song
  10. In The Beginning
  11. Loch Ness Monster Song
  12. The Ring Of Brodgar
  13. Cumiaichean
  14. Jazz Hop
  15. From The Video Box 25

About the Music

Funky Notes ‘Online Magazine’ — It is courting controversy to state that Smith is best known as leader of the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra and firmly sewn in to a Basie-esqe straitjacket but many a commentator has made that allegation in the past. This album, however, firmly dispels the rumour and portrays the saxophonist as his own man. Much of the content emphasises Smith’s Scottish heritage and background with titles such as Robert Burns and the Loch Ness Monster Song. Indeed, this amazing blend of music and poetry owns much to the Bard. Internationalism is not forsaken, though, with the emotive Twin Towers giving a profound poignancy to the collection. Recorded in New York, Norway and Scotland over a two year period, this album is a true “must” for every thinking jazz collector. We may never see its likes again!


Sunday, August 22nd, 2010

Tommy Smith "Bezique"featuring Brian Kellock (piano), Tommy Smith (tenor Saxophone)

  1. Bud Powell
  2. Very Early
  3. Never Let Me Go
  4. Come Rain Or Come Shine
  5. The Thrill Is Gone
  6. Ladies In Mercedes
  7. Don’t You Know I Care
  8. Parker 51
  9. Lush Life


Kenny Mathieson (The Scotsman) ***** — “SCOTLAND’S two leading jazz musicians convened for this duo performance at The Hub in Edinburgh in July and played in dazzling and highly inventive fashion on an intriguing mix of standards and contemporary jazz tunes, many of which were not part of their usual repertoire elsewhere. The vivid live recording captures much of the tension, spontaneous energy and exhilarating interplay of ldeas which made it such a memorable occasion.”

Dave Gelly (The Observer) “CD of the Week” — “The duet is the most exposed form in jazz because there’s simply nowhere to hide, and to record a duet live is a risky undertaking. That’s what makes this virtuoso performance, captured at last summer’s Edinburgh Jazz Festival, so impressive.”

Rob Adams (The Herald) **** — “It would be fascinating, in the time-honoured jazz way, to blind date 100 jazz enthusiats without local knowledge and see how many attribute this recording to two Scottish musicians. Recorded at their first live duo date together at Edinburgh International Jazz Festival in July, these nine tracks capture the saxophonist and pianist living up to their reputations and confirms for those present that both were absolutely on their mettle. There’s empathy, maybe even a little benign rivalry, tender romance, flowing, full cry creativity from both players, humour, and musical hooliganism, too, as Kellock takes Bill Evan’s Very Early from waltz to waltzer, and karate chops a glorious take on Steve Swallow’s latin-dancing Ladies In Mercedes. International class? You bet. Footballers get caps for much less.”

Peter Bacon (The Birmingham Post), Favourite CDs of 2003 — “Both men have technique verging on the gargantuan, yet the music on this live recording from The Hub in Edinburgh is never virtuosic for viruosity’s sake. Smith is the complete saxophonist, possessing a tone muscular when needed, and sweet as a nut on the ballads. Kellock does everything a post-Oscar Peterson pianist should.”

John Fordham (The Guardian) — “These are two of the most formidable soloists on the Scottish scene, pretty much in straightahead mode. Saxophonist Smith, as he has demonstrated with the American Joanne Brackeen, is a good duo collaborator with pianists, his more languorous Jan Garbarek-like aspect in other settings put aside in favour of a surging, hard-swinging style. But his formidable range, particularly in sustaining a remarkable purity on long, high sounds, is fully unwrapped on this collection of 11 standards old and new, including traditionals such as Billy Strayhorn’s Lush Life, and Steve Swallow’s Ladies in Mercedes – the latter opening with an abstractedly Monkish piano intro from Kellock.”