Tommy Smith (tenor saxophone)/BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra (BBCSSO) conducted by Clark Rundell with orchestrations by Smith.
Recorded on 28th and 29th May 2015 at City Halls, Glasgow.
Mixed on 25th and 26th October at Rainbow Studios in Oslo by Jan Erik Kongshaug.
Orchestra Manager GAVIN REID
Senior Producer ANDREW TRINICK
Recording Engineer GRAEME TAYLOR
Photography DEREK CLARK
Liner Notes MICHAEL CLARK
Saxophonist - Composer - Orchestrator
CD Design & Executive Producer TOMMY SMITH
Leading European jazz saxophonist, composer and educator Tommy Smith boldly breaks new ground with the BBC/SSO on Modern Jacobite, an exceptional recording featuring his new symphonic work 'Jacobite', alongside personal re-imaginings of Rachmaninoff and Chick Corea.
Modern Jacobite represents a first foray into symphonic music for jazz saxophonist Tommy Smith, who has long interleaved orchestral discipline with creative jazz.
The centrepiece of this striking album is an evocative painting in music, 'Jacobite'. Tommy Smith composed this ambitious symphonic piece for saxophone and orchestra, and it is deeply imbued with dramatic tension, extraordinary beauty and inflamed passion. 'Jacobite' is also musically inventive and finely balanced as an intricate structure, an articulate narrative and an exceptionally visceral piece of original music.
The CD opens with a shimmering interpretation of Rachmaninoff's 'Vocalise', in which Smith's saxophone emotes a range of complex feelings in a devastatingly romantic orchestration. "Vocalise' is among the best loved of the composer's famous 'Fourteen Songs', and Smith brings the subtlest nuances of improvisation to bear upon its melodic richness.
The third element is a portmanteau of compositions ostensibly by Chick Corea, entitled simply, 'Children's Songs'. It consists of Corea's original tunes alternating with Smith's re-imaginings of Corea's childhood memoirs. These variations are delivered with improvisational verve, and linked by the connective tissue of new music composed by Tommy Smith.<
The journey towards the making of this record first began in January 2015 with a suggestion from the BBC/SSO for a remarkable collaboration that has now resulted in the musical energy of 'Jacobite'. Following discussions, Smith immediately embarked upon a feverish period of writing and orchestrating that continued unabated until the recording dates in May of that year.
Keen listeners may detect elements of Scottish folk melody as one of several points of departure in this dynamic and highly organized work. Tommy Smith uses every part of the orchestra to tell his story, and colours his composition with delicate touches of inventive improvisation. However, his overarching aim with 'Jacobite' was to conceive of something subtle, organic and expressive.
" 'Jacobite' is a piece of modern music that features saxophone and many other soloists in the orchestra, so it's quite unconventional", explains Smith. "It's certainly not a full blown concerto, especially when the first entrance of the saxophone appears after two and a half minutes of orchestral texture and solos from cello and flute. The saxophone acts as the main narrator throughout the piece, that speaks to all the thematic material."
The outcome is a high watermark in the accomplished career of one of the Europe"s leading jazz musicians. It is also a welcome addition to the growing repertoire of modern musical works that blur distinctions, and break down barriers to musical understanding. For more information about the CD or to obtain a physical/digital copy of "Modern Jacobite": Tommy Smith/BBCSSO, please follow the links below.
Tommy Smith is a D'Addario Performing Artist and performs exclusively on Select Jazz Reeds
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