The SNJO celebrates the centenary of explosive jazz drummer and bandleader Buddy Rich in a special concert for the 2017 Glasgow Jazz Festival featuring Alyn Cosker.
There will be jazz orchestra concerts that create much bigger musical storms and specifically Scottish National Jazz Orchestra concerts that feature more familiar instrumentation. This one, though, has to go down as particularly special. It was the sort of occasion that illustrates how there’s no substitute for being in the room where and when the […]
The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra stopped off at the Usher Hall in Edinburgh tonight as part of an all too short performance schedule performing “Sketches of Spain” and “Porgy & Bess”. These two visionary collaborations between Miles Davis and Gil Evans marked a watershed point in the critics’ and public’s perception of Jazz as a […]
Porgy and Bess / Sketches of Spain: A concert preview. The SNJO covered both albums with Gerard Presencer early in its history. This time around, the now internationally celebrated orchestra features another guest trumpeter, plus a stalwart of their own, with Sketches being fronted by the acclaimed young player Laura Jurd, currently a BBC New […]
A great CD Review from Dan McClenaghan for All About jazz The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra, SNJO, under the leadership of saxophonist Tommy Smith, has proven itself to be one of the premier large ensemble outfits out there.
The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra, playing the songs of Mancini and Mandel featuring Joe Locke and Kenny Washington, brought a slice of classic Hollywood film music to The Queen’s Hall in Edinburgh for this show.
Kenny Washington used to see Wynton Marsalis around New Orleans and be so awestruck that he didn’t dare go up to the trumpeter and say hello. He wasn’t to know back then that thirty years and more later, the awe would be reciprocal and that when Marsalis restaged his Pulitzer Prize-winning oratorio, Blood On the Fields in 2013 […]
Beauty and the Beast: The SNJO with special guest Bill Evans
“The whole orchestra plays brilliantly,…….well worth the wait.”
From the opening drum salvo and funky bass/ piano, this piece hits you and carries you along in a wave of euphoria. For those who remember Tommy Smith as a lyrical hard-bop sax player, the music here might not come as a surprise. What is, perhaps, surprising is the depth and complexity with which he uses the whole palette available in this jazz orchestra to colour and build the pieces in this suite.The pieces are not named but numbered 1-7. The motivation for the seven pieces here was a meditation on the duality of the human psyche – hence, Beauty and the Beast (although, continuing the Scottish theme, it could as easily have been Jekyll and Hyde).
“…a magnificent achievement by all concerned.” Part 1: After a Kentonesque intro (had Kenton still been around) Bill Evans, who isn’t a reincarnated pianist nor an aka Yusef Lateef, erupts on soprano. This is definitely the Beast. Part 2: A change from major to minor mood suggests that the beast is eying up a young […]
A Christmas Festival of Jazz with the SNJO and TSYJO They better watch out, better not cry, better not pout because, as the song doesn’t go on to say, the next generation might be after their jobs. There was no sense of anti-climax in the “feeder team” – the Tommy Smith Youth Jazz Orchestra – […]