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 twenty-six solo 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, but are not limited to, 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 and a Professorship from the RCS. His latest album KARMA won him his seventh Scottish Jazz Award for album of the year in 2012.
Tommy Smith is a D’Addario Performing Artist and performs exclusively on Select Jazz reeds.