All About Jazz

Home » Musicians » Tommy Smith

Tommy Smith 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

Read more

Tags

Extended Analysis
Album Review
Read more articles
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

Read more

Primary Instrument

Saxophone, tenor

Location

Edinburgh

Willing to teach

Advanced only

Credentials/Background

Professor of Jazz at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow

Photos

Albums

Album Embodying the Light by Tommy Smith

Embodying the Light

Spartacus Records
2018

buy
Album Modern Jacobite by Tommy Smith

Modern Jacobite

Spartacus Records
2016

buy
Album Scottish National Jazz Orchestra: Culloden Moor Suite by Tommy Smith

Scottish National...

Spartacus Records
2015

buy
Album Scottish National Jazz Orchestra: American Adventure by Tommy Smith

Scottish National...

Spartacus Records
2014

buy
Album Mira by Tommy Smith

Mira

ECM Records
2014

buy
Album Whispering of the Stars by Tommy Smith

Whispering of the...

Spartacus Records
2014

buy
Cause and Effect

Cause and Effect

Tommy Smith
Karma

Watch

Similar

Sonny Rollins Sonny Rollins
saxophone
Wayne Shorter Wayne Shorter
saxophone
Michael Brecker Michael Brecker
saxophone, tenor
Chris Potter Chris Potter
saxophone, soprano
Joe Lovano Joe Lovano
saxophone, tenor
Sonny Stitt Sonny Stitt
saxophone
Joshua Redman Joshua Redman
saxophone
James Carter James Carter
saxophone, tenor
Charles Lloyd Charles Lloyd
saxophone
Mark Turner Mark Turner
saxophone, tenor
Bob Mintzer Bob Mintzer
saxophone

Shop Amazon

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.