Born: April 27, 1967 Primary Instrument: Saxophone
Award-winning Scottish saxophonist-composer-educator Tommy Smith is a creative force in improvised music performing in settings from solo to symphonic concerts and is one of Europe’s leading musicians. He has recorded 24 solo albums as a leader for Blue Note, Linn and his own label Spartacus Records and worked with stars like Chick Corea, Gary Burton, Jack DeJohnette, Arild Andersen, Trilok Gurtu, Jaco Pastorius and John Scofield. Director of the internationally acclaimed Scottish National Jazz Orchestra since 1995, and his own youth jazz orchestra since 2000, he is also artistic director of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s jazz course. He holds 3 PhD doctorates from Heriot- Watt, Glasgow Caledonian & Edinburgh Universities and a Professorship from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. His latest album KARMA won his sixth Scottish Jazz Award for album of the year (2012).
Awards:2013 Honorary Doctorate of Music [University of Edinburgh] 2012 British Jazz Award [Big Band] Parliamentary Jazz Award [Big Band] Scottish Jazz Award [Educator] Scottish Jazz Award [Best Album 'KARMA'] 2011 Scottish Jazz Award [Educator] Scottish Jazz Award [Big Band] 2009 Scottish Jazz Award [Big Band] Scottish Jazz Award [Woodwind] 2008 Honorary Doctorate of Letters [Caledonian University, Glasgow] Heart of Jazz Award [BBC Jazz Awards#2008] 2002 The British Jazz Awards [Best Tenor Saxophonist] 2000 Scottish Arts Council [Creative Scotland Award] Honorary Fellow of the [Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland] Honorary Doctorate [Heriot-Watt University], Edinburgh 1996 Arts Foundation/Barclays Bank [Jazz Composition Fellowship Prize] BT British Jazz Award 1992 Wavendon All Music Awards [Services to Music] 1989 British Jazz Award 1986 BBC National Big Band Competition [Outstanding Musician Award] 1981 Edinburgh Jazz Festival [Best Band] Edinburgh Jazz Festival [Best Soloist]
“Tommy Smith, the most talented tenor sax star to arrive on the world scene in years.” —Gary Burton
“Tommy a unique sound and approach. I like it from when I frst heard him play as a student at Berklee.” —Chick Corea
“One of the important voices in the young tenor players of today.” —Jack DeJohnette
“Smith’s artful writing makes the band sound like a petite philharmonic.” — Neil Tesser, Playboy Magazine
“He makes ancient and modern music sound strangely compatible and in his ecstatic renderings makes Coltrane’s ‘Naima’ and even Rodgers & Hart’s “My Romance’ sound like prayers. This is a unique album.” —Ian Carr, BBC MUSIC MAG
“Smith’s some saxman. Possessing a shining powerful tone and masterful technique, he creates melodies, not riffs, even if the tempo is outrageous.” — Zan Stewart, Downbeat
“Smith’s soloing… is superb,never more so than in a stunning, utterly solo rendering of Solitude.” —Los Angeles Times
“Since Stan Getz died, Smith must be one of the chief contenders for most beautiful saxophone sound in the world.” —Birmingham Post
“Smith comes across as a true star, inhabiting the sound of his saxophone in a way very few players anywhere in the world are capable of.” —The Independent
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Willing to teach:
Advanced students only.
Professor of Jazz at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow