Tommy Smith

Tommy Smith (b.1967) is one of the finest musicians of his generation, who has worked in jazz, classical, theatre, folk, and pop circles. Smith’s prolific career began with his first album, Giant Strides, (1983) when he was only sixteen. This recording earned him a scholarship to Berklee College of Music in Boston. There he formed the group Forward Motion and together they recorded two albums. Next, thanks to a recommendation by legendary jazz-fusion pianist Chick Corea, Smith was invited Gary Burton’s band. Smith would tour the world for the first time and play on the album ECM album Whiz Kids, (1987). Since then, he has made thirty solo albums as a leader for Blue Note, LINN, ECM and his label Spartacus Records, toured over 50 countries, and has collaborated with Arild Andersen, Edwin Morgan, Liz Lochhead, Norman MacCaig, Scottish Ensemble, John Scofield, Jaco Pastorius, Kenny Wheeler, Jack DeJohnette, Dizzy Gillespie, and Trilok Gurtu.

Smith is founder/artistic director of the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra (1995) The Tommy Smith Youth Jazz Orchestra (2001) and established Scotland’s first ever full-time jazz course (2009) at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. He also holds three honorary doctorates from Heriot-Watt, Glasgow Caledonian & Edinburgh Universities, a Professorship from the RCS, Lord Provost Music Award, A Scottish Jazz Expo Award, BBC Heart of Jazz Award, and a Parliamentary Jazz Award

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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

Saxophone, tenor



Willing to teach

Advanced only


Professor of Jazz at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow



Embodying the Light

Spartacus Records


Modern Jacobite

Spartacus Records


Scottish National...

Spartacus Records


Scottish National...

Spartacus Records



ECM Records


Whispering of the...

Spartacus Records


Cause and Effect

From: Karma
By Tommy Smith



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