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.
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 […]