The SNJO makes jazz for the people, by the people and delivers it to the people; at home in Scotland and across international borders. They give and receive a warm welcome wherever they go and carry with them the true democratic spirit of jazz.
The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra (SNJO) is considered by many to be one of Europe’s foremost contemporary big bands.
Founder/Director Tommy Smith established the SNJO in 1995 as a not-for-profit organisation with a crystal clear artistic vision and core values of versatility, discipline and expression. The SNJO is dedicated to promoting jazz as a pre-eminent art form through performances, original compositions, recordings, and educational outreach programmes. This commitment extends to the task of developing promising young jazz musicians through the ranks of The Tommy Smith Youth Jazz Orchestra.
It should therefore come as no surprise that many of the leading lights in world jazz have enthusiastically shared the stage with the SNJO. People like Cleo Laine, John Scofield, Gary Burton, Bobby Watson, Dave Liebman, Joe Lovano, Bill Evans, Kenny Wheeler, Gary Novak, Arild Andersen, Peter Erskine, Kurt Elling, Makoto Ozone and Randy Brecker have all joined the orchestra to explore virtually every room in the house of the jazz.
The SNJO repertoire has included re-imaginings of works by the great, the good and the gigantic, including Weather Report, Herman, Rich, Strayhorn, Goodman, Kenton, Basie, Gillespie, Mingus, Corea, Monk, Metheny, Shorter, Miles and Coltrane. They have also recorded vivid interpretations of Gershwin and Ellington to rave reviews, alongside a remarkable re-reading of Miles Ahead, an ECM-tinted set on Celebration and Tommy Smith’s suite, Torah. The SNJO has also built a growing library of original compositions underpinned by a deep understanding and appreciation of improvisation.