Scotland’s premier jazzman and arguably one of the world’s best sax players always
draws a big crowd of fans to the Blue Lamp. It’s been a few years since he appeared
with his own quartet but this year Tommy Smith launches a new band, the Tommy
Smith Quartet: Embodying the Light.
On February 2, Smith and his new quartet went into the studio to record his first
acoustic quartet album since 2005. Entitled Embodying the Light, the album will
mark Smith’s 50th birthday and the 50th anniversary of the death of one of his
greatest inspirations, John Coltrane. It features Coltrane compositions including
Naima, Dear Lord and Resolution and music associated with Coltrane alongside
Smith compositions written in homage to Coltrane.
The new group features Tommy alongside one of the UK’s leading young piano
talents, Pete Johnstone, a former Young Scottish Jazz Musician of the Year and
winner, with the group Square One, of the 2015 Peter Whittingham Jazz Prize.
Bassist Calum Gourlay is a young veteran of gigs with Sheila Jordan, Scott Hamilton
and The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra, and Sebastiaan de Krom has been the
drumming powerhouse behind Herbie Hancock and Jamie Cullum.
Smith has been a presence on the world jazz scene since his teenage years. At the
age of nineteen he was touring internationally with Gary Burton’s Whiz Kids quintet
and three years later he signed to the legendary jazz label Blue Note. He has since
gone on to establish and direct the internationally acclaimed Scottish National Jazz
Orchestra and he regularly tours the world with Norwegian bass master Arild
Andersen’s trio, widely regarded as one of the premier groups working in jazz today.