Location: Edinburgh
Instrument: Sax, tenor
Born: April 27, 1967

Tommy Smith is a leading light in European jazz, first and foremost as one of the finest saxophonists of his generation, and latterly as the founder and current director of The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra (SNJO). These career-defining achievements are framed by his status as an international recording artist; a composer and arranger of extraordinary ambition; and not least, as a jazz educator.

His prolific career began in earnest when, aged only sixteen, he recorded his first album Giant Strides. He was rewarded with a scholarship to Berklee College of Music, an experience that has shaped his affirmative approach to jazz. Since then, he has made twenty-seven solo albums as a leader for Blue Note, Linn and his own label Spartacus Records.

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BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE ★★★★★ “His tone is tungsten-tough or tender and nostalgic, his improvisations stimulating and affecting.”

“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.”

SCOTSMAN ★★★★★ “His toughest and most creative quartet yet.” ”TOMMY Smith is not one to do things by half measures.”

IRISH TIMES ★★★★★ “Smith’s tenor is now the uniquely personal voice of a great player”

JAZZWISE “It is quite possibly his finest recording yet.”

OBSERVER Jazz CD of the week “An auspicious first release by Smith's own label”

GUARDIAN “A rare splicing of rich-toned, pipe-like themes, fiercely guttural up-tempo tenor improv, Arabic and Irish music.” Jazz CD of the week “A very elegant take on standard jazz materials”

MOJO “Scottish saxophonist/composer’s 24th album, one of his best.”

BIRMINGHAM POST “Since Stan Getz died, Smith must be one of the chief contenders for most beautiful saxophone sound in the world.”

INDEPENDENT “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.”

PLAYBOY MAGAZINE “Smith’s artful writing makes the band sound like a petite philharmonic.”

DOWNBEAT “Smith’s some sax-man

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Primary Instrument

Sax, tenor


Lanark, ML11

Willing to teach

Advanced students only.


Professor of Jazz at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow