American Adventure

2014   |   Spartacus Records
  • Splatch
  • Duke Ellington’s Sound of Love
  • Yes or No
  • Pendulum
  • Dear Lord
  • Quartet No. 1 (part 2)
  • Pinocchio


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About this album

In the summer of 2013, The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra (SNJO), under the leadership of founder/director Tommy Smith, toured in the U.S.A. and Canada for the first time. They paused for a moment in New York City to record with some of America’s most admired jazz musicians.  Special guests: MIKE STERN | KURT ELLING | BILL EVANS | DAVID LIEBMAN | RANDY BRECKER JOE LOCKE | CLARENCE PENN | DONNY McCASLIN | ALYN COSKER | DAVID KIKOSKI JOEL FRAHM | MICHAEL DEASE American Adventure is the result of sessions which took place over two hot days in June inside Avatar, one of New York City’s most iconic recording studios. This latest chapter in the SNJO story explores musical narratives provided by some of the most adventurous composers, soloists and arrangers in contemporary jazz.

American Adventure also underscores the generational transections that radiated from the innovations set by Miles Davis and were proliferated by disciples,  David Liebman and Bill Evans. A clear path is delineated through the compositions of Shorter, Coltrane, Corea, Miller, Beirach, and Mingus to the young voices of these present day players. The meeting is certainly historic for the SNJO, but it is historical too because it deals with the very fabric of contemporary jazz.

Tommy Smith, reflecting on their achievements, said, “Throughout our North American adventure, we formed new friendships and played some magnificent music inspired by tremendous audiences. Personally, I was proud to be leading such an exceptional group of musicians through nine concerts and two very memorable days at Avatar, supported by all our gracious and inspirational guests.”

"This band can do it all, from straight ahead to free jazz."
David Liebman
"They hold themselves to the highest standards of musicianship and perform new music and classic charts with ingenuity and verve. I am a fan!"
Kurt Elling
"A real pleasure to be invited to play on this record. It’s a great band."
Mike Stern
"The SNJO is one of the most inventive and contemporary orchestras in the world. I am truly honoured to be a part of it. This record burns!"
Bill Evans
"On the day I was in the studio with the SNJO, the orchestra almost melted the sound tiles."
Joe Locke
"They have it all: precision, great soloists, deep swing...and the one and only Tommy Smith at the helm!"
Randy Brecker


  1. posted on Feb 19, 2014 at 10:40 AM  |  reply

    […] inside Avatar, one of New York City’s most iconic recording studios. This latest chapter in the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra story explores musical narratives provided by some of the most adventurous composers, soloists and […]

  2. posted on Oct 04, 2014 at 11:32 AM  |  reply

    […] Jazz Orchestra. The SNJO has carved out a reputation as a top quality big band, with albums such as American Adventure (Spartacus Records, 2014)—the Culloden Moor Suite enhances that reputation still further. […] […]

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'The SNJO deserved all the praise Kurt Elling so graciously lavished on them.'

Sponsors: We thank our sponsors Creative Scotland, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and Dundee Council for their continued support as well as the management teams at our regular venues, The Queen's Hall: Edinburgh, The Music Hall: Aberdeen, Eden Court: Inverness and Caird Hall: Dundee.

Creative ScotlandRoyal Conservatoire of ScotlandDundee CouncilThe Queen's Hall: EdinburghThe Music Hall: AberdeenEden Court: Inverness