The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra (SNJO) celebrates its twentieth anniversary in adventurous style by extensively touring Scotland’s north and west and travelling out to its island communities. From Islay to Arran and then on via Shetland to Mull, Skye, South Uist, Lewis, Ullapool and Inverness, they will be joined by their special guest Eddi Reader for ten nights of amazing music in an enticing concert series performed in the heartlands of musical tradition.
The music and songs of Scotland naturally stirs strong and mixed emotions that are coloured by a sense of history, perceptions of identity and political ideas. All these feelings will be explored deeply by two of Scotland’s most passionate and eminent musical ambassadors. For two decades, Tommy Smith has led the SNJO through many challenges, and created stunning music that has placed Scotland on the world map of jazz. Eddi Reader is one of the nation’s most charismatic singers; one whose voice has enthralled audiences worldwide and perfectly captures the spirit of modern Scotland.
The songs they will be performing aim to carefully illuminate every sensitive aspect of the Scottish musical imagination. They are helped on this journey by some of the world’s most forward-thinking arrangers of cultured orchestral jazz, namely: Geoffrey Keezer, Pino Jodice, Florian Ross, Paul Harrison, Martin Kershaw, Laurence Cottle and Christian Jacob. Together, they aim to create a portrait of Scotland in which tradition and modernity at last become indistinguishable and inseparable.
Alba: Songs of Scotland is essentially the story of love in its many forms: from the devotional and the poetic to the mystical and the fierce. You will hear it performed warmly in the Gaelic of An Ataireaclhd Ard (the high surge of the sea), reflectively in Edwin Morgan and Tommy Smith’s golden Glen of Tranquility, and affectingly in the lilting Loch Tay Boat Song.
Naturally, it’s impossible to consider the songs of Scotland without thinking immediately of Robert Burns. He was indisputably a love poet with few peers, and Eddi Reader is much admired as an interpreter of his work. These performances with the SNJO pay particular attention to intensity of Burns’ lyrical ardour in famous pieces such as Ae Fond Kiss and John Anderson My Jo, alongside the spent passion of his Jacobite’s lament.
Eddi Reader can only sing truthfully and from the heart. Perhaps this is how these songs should really be heard, with strong emotions tempered by understanding and self-knowledge. The SNJO also know all about music that soothes the soul and cheers the heart. It is their forte. Perhaps it’s also time to think less about labels and simply enjoy wonderful Scottish music that faithfully embodies and embraces great melody. Eddi Reader and the SNJO will be there to entertain you as we travel together through Scotland’s collective memory with vivid, vibrant and imaginative music.
See www.snjo.co.uk for ticket details