Gig Details

Friday 5 April. 19:30 – 22:15.

At Crucible Studio (in collaboration with Music in the Round)

Full £17, Concessions £13.50, Students with NUS card £8, and under 16s £3. Advance tickets available from Crucible box office: 0114 249 6000 and

Tommy Smith: saxophone; Pete Johnstone: piano; Calum Gourlay: bass; Sebastiaan de Krom: drums


Internationally-acclaimed saxophonist Tommy Smith and his outstanding new group pay tribute to his greatest inspiration, jazz icon John Coltrane. Performing favourite Coltrane compositions alongside Smith’s own homages to his hero, this concert promises exciting music full of spirit, passion, devotion, and emotion. A presence on the global jazz scene since his teenage years with Gary Burton’s quintet, TommySmith has recorded for Blue Note and ECM Records and he regularly tours the world with Norwegian bass master Arild Andersen’s trio, widely regarded as one of the premier groups working in jazz today.

Tommy Smith (b.1967) is a leading light in European jazz, first and foremost as one of the finest saxophonists of his generation, and latterly as the founder and current director of The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra (SNJO). These career-defining achievements are framed by his status as an international recording artist; a composer and arranger of extraordinary ambition; and not least, as a jazz educator. His prolific career began in earnest when, aged only sixteen, he recorded his first album Giant Strides. He was rewarded with a scholarship to Berklee College of Music, an experience that has shaped his affirmative approach to jazz. Since then, he has made numerous albums as a leader for Blue Note, Linn and his own label Spartacus Records.

Smith has also earned the regard, support and friendship of the many respected jazz figures with whom he has collaborated and created great jazz. They include Gary Burton, Chick Corea, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny, Barron, Arild Andersen, John Scofield and Trilok Gurtu. His tenure with the SNJO has seen critically acclaimed performances and recordings of programmed and commissioned works including hugely popular treatments of Ellington, Gershwin, Weather Report and Miles Davis.

Tommy Smith is also founder/director of The Tommy Smith Youth Jazz Orchestra and is current Artistic Director of the first ever full-time jazz course at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. He also holds three honorary doctorates from Heriot-Watt, Glasgow Caledonian & Edinburgh Universities. His album KARMA won him his seventh Scottish Jazz Award for album of the year in 2012.

A presence on the global jazz scene since his teenage years with Gary Burton’s Whiz Kids quintet, Smith has recorded for Blue Note and ECM Records and currently tours the world with Norwegian bass master Arild Andersen’s trio, widely regarded as one of the premier groups working in jazz today.

This new group features one of the UK’s leading young piano talents, Peter Johnstone, a former Young Scottish Jazz Musician of the Year and winner, with the group Square One, of the 2015 Peter Whittingham Jazz Prize. Bassist Calum Gourlay is a young veteran of gigs with Sheila Jordan, Scott Hamilton and The SNJO, and Sebastiaan de Krom has been the drumming powerhouse behind Herbie Hancock, and Jamie Cullum.

 Some reviews of Tommy Smith and his latest highly praised album, Embodying The Light: Dedication to John Coltrane,  music from which he will be featuring in this concert:

 ***** “The elegant homage is an outstanding achievement in its own right.”… Jim Gilchrist, The Scotsman 

 **** “This beautifully played homage in the style of the master’s 1960s quartet (rising young Glaswegian pianist Pete Johnstone is a big contributor, alongside bassist Calum Gourlay and drummer Sebastiaan de Krom) and the leader’s variety of tone and dynamics in these accounts of such classics as Dear Lord, Resolution and Naima testifies to the authority of his technique and the receptiveness of his ear. Smith’s fast-moving slaloms across the tenor’s register are bewitching on Transformation, his sound glides between querulous fragility and assertion on Naima; Johnstone dramatically invokes McCoy Tyner on a pulsating Resolution; and Smith’s three originals are right in Coltrane’s ballpark.”… John Fordham, The Guardian

 “One of the most important voices in the tenor players of today”…Jack DeJohnette

 “Unselfconscious honesty, emotional and spiritual. In this powerful homage, Smith succeeds in showing us the way.”… Stuart Nicholson, Jazzwise

 “Absolutely top drawer: fluid, articulate, commanding and constantly surprising.”… Keith Bruce, The Herald

  “The finest jazz recording of the decade, bar none. Truly wonderful.”… Brian Palmer, Ileach

 “Smith really is a modern master of the tenor sax.”… Mark McKergow, London Jazz News