Two of Scotland’s greatest jazz artists, saxophonist Tommy Smith and pianist Brian Kellock, team up to bring you a beautiful and imaginative duo. Not surprisingly, the press has applauded them with phrases such as ‘bewitching layers of delicacy’, full flight, spontaneous invention’ and ‘sheer artistry’. This dynamic duo perform tracks from their three CDs on Spartacus records, ‘Bezique’, ‘Symbiosis’ & ‘Whispering of the Stars’ which feature the great American & European song book.
(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 sixth Scottish Jazz Award for album of the year in 2012.
(b.1962) is widely regarded as one of the UK’s finest jazz pianists. Stylistically, he aligns himself with iconic figures such as Oscar Peterson or Monty Alexander, but he is a player who is equally at home in mainstream and contemporary jazz styles.
He graduated with a B.Music (Hons) from Edinburgh University in 1986 and since then he has established himself as one of the top piano players on the UK jazz scene. He has worked with jazz luminaries such as Red Rodney, Sheila Jordan, Art Farmer, Stanley Turrentine, Herb Geller and many others. Kellock also tours with Australian trumpeter James Morrison’s band and appears on their live album recorded at The New Morning Club in Paris.
His main project is his own trio, whose first incarnation appeared in 1988 as the rhythm section for seminal Scottish band The John Rae Collective. The current line-up, featuring Kenny Ellis on bass and John Rae on drums, has been performing together ever since and they enjoy a large and loyal following. His populist streak is strongly evidenced on the album Something’s Got To Give (1998), which showcases Kellock and his trio at their interpretive best on standards popularised by Fred Astaire.
In 2000, Brian Kellock was recognized as one of the top ten young, jazz pianists in the world by Classic CD magazine and his album Live at Henry’s (2001) received widespread praise and enthusiastic reviews. He has also featured as a popular member, contributor and soloist with The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra. Indeed, his performances on the SNJO’s readings of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, and Ellington classics in the acclaimed Spirit of Duke programme won widespread and unconditional praise.