Thursday 10 October
The Blue Lamp
Internationally acclaimed saxophonist Tommy Smith pays homage to his greatest inspiration, jazz icon John Coltrane with his latest band, the Tommy Smith Quartet: Embodying the Light.
A presence on the global jazz scene since his teenage years with Gary Burton’s Whiz Kids quintet, Tommy Smith has recorded for the legendary Blue Note Records and ECM Records and currently tours the world with Norwegian bass master Arild Andersen’s trio, widely regarded as one of the premier groups working in jazz today. He also established and leads the jazz course at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, is the founder and director of the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra.
Formed in February 2017, the Tommy Smith Quartet: Embodying the Light released its eponymous first album to glowing reviews. The Herald described it as “Absolutely top drawer: fluid, articulate, commanding and constantly surprising.” And The Scotsman recognized it as an “outstanding achievement.”
In concerts, including sold-out appearances at the world-famous Ronnie Scott’s jazz club in London and at Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival, audience response has been similarly enthusiastic. Reaction on the group’s UK tour in November 2018 was ecstatic, with seasoned promoters describing the quartet as “absolutely stunning” and “the best treatment of Coltrane’s repertoire I’ve heard in fifty years of listening.”
Smith’s rhythm section features two of the UK’s leading young musicians, pianist Peter Johnstone and London-based bassist Calum Gourlay alongside the hugely experienced drummer Sebastiaan de Krom.
Peter Johnstone, a product of Smith’s Tommy Smith Youth Jazz Orchestra and an RCS jazz course alumnus, won the Young Scottish Jazz Musician of the Year title in 2012 and was chosen as a Yamaha Scholar the following year. He has gone on to win the 2015 Peter Whittingham Jazz Prize with the group Square One and has toured with the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra and its guests Joe Locke, Kenny Washington and Mike Mainieri.
Calum Gourlay, like Peter Johnstone, came through the Tommy Smith Youth Jazz Orchestra, and is now an in-demand player on the London jazz scene. He leads his own Thelonious Monk project and big band, has worked with Sheila Jordan and Scott Hamilton, and as the established regular bassist with The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra he has accompanied an array of international guests including Kurt Elling, John Scofield and Mike Stern.
Dutch-born de Krom is a graduate of Berklee College of Music and holds a Masters degree from New England Conservatory. In 1995 he won the prestigious Buddy Rich Award and from 1997 to 1999 he was the drummer for the renowned Thelonious Monk Institute Jazz Performance programme. He has performed with Herbie Hancock and John Scofield and played regular sessions for Jamie Cullum from 2001 to 2008.
Performing favourite Coltrane compositions including Resolution, Naima and Dear Lord, alongside Smith’s own homages to his hero, Tommy Smith Quartet: Embodying the Light promises exciting music full of spirit, passion, devotion, and emotion.
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