featuring MIKE STERN, KURT ELLING, BILL EVANS, DAVID LIEBMAN, RANDY BRECKER, JOE LOCKE, CLARENCE PENN, DONNY McCASLIN, ALYN COSKER, DAVID KIKOSKI, JOEL FRAHM, MICHAEL DEASE, TOMMY SMITH and the SCOTTISH NATIONAL JAZZ ORCHESTRA.
★★★★★ JAZZ JOURNAL ★★★★★ THE SCOTSMAN ★★★★★THE YORK PRESS ★★★★ THE GUARDIAN ★★★★ MARLBANK ★★★★ FINANCIAL TIMES ★★★★JAZZWISE
American Adventure is the result of sessions that took place over two hot days in June 2013 inside Avatar, one of New York City’s most iconic recording studios. This latest chapter in the SNJO story explores musical narratives provided by some of the most adventurous composers, soloists and arrangers in contemporary jazz.
The SNJO and their guests bring 21st century elan to the compositions of Marcus Miller, John Coltrane, Charles Mingus, Wayne Shorter, Richie Beirach and Chick Corea on an exceptional recording produced by Tommy Smith. The album also features superbly crafted arrangements by Fred Sturm, Jim McNeely, Geoffrey Keezer and newcomer Jacob Mann.
Tommy Smith, reflecting on American Adventure, says, “We formed new friendships and played some magnificent music. Personally, I was proud to be leading such an exceptional group of musicians through two memorable days at Avatar, supported by all our gracious and inspirational guests.”
Mike Stern; Guitar, Tommy Smith; Tenor Saxophone & Director, Clarence Penn; Drums, Donny McCaslin; Flute & Tenor Saxophone [tracks 2, 3, 4, 6 ] , Joe Locke; Vibraphone, David Liebman; Soprano Saxophone, David Kikoski; Piano, Joel Frahm; Tenor Saxophone [tracks 1, 5, 7], Bill Evans; Tenor Saxophone, Kurt Elling; Voice, Michael Dease; Trombone, Randy Brecker; Trumpet
SCOTTISH NATIONAL JAZZ ORCHESTRA
Ru Pattison; Alto & Soprano Saxophone, Martin Kershaw; Clarinet & Alto Saxophone, Konrad Wiszniewski; Tenor Saxophone, Bill Fleming; Baritone Saxophone, Ryan Quigley; Trumpet & Flugelhorn, Cameron Jay; Trumpet & Flugelhorn, Tom MacNiven; Trumpet & Flugelhorn, James Marr; Trumpet & Flugelhorn, Chris Greive; Trombone, Phil O’Malley; Trombone, Michael Owers; Bass Trombone, Brian Kellock; Piano [tracks 1, 2, 3, 7], Calum Gourlay; Acoustic Bass, Alyn Cosker; Drums
★★★★★ "Contemporary big-band music of the highest quality, and as such, totally recommended." "Smith conjures 16 bars of affectingly measured mood on Mingus's Duke Ellington's Sound Of Love, where the broadly phrased baritone of Kurt Elling - recalls his 2009 Concord tribute to the music that Johnny Hartman recorded with Coltrane in the early 1960s." MIKE TUCKER, JAZZ JOURNAL
★★★★★ "The Scotsman The growth of the SNJO over the past two decades has been the most significant development ever in Scottish jazz." KENNY MATHIESON, THE SCOTSMAN
★★★★★ "Vocalist Kurt Elling slows things down on the elegant Duke Ellington's Sound Of Love (Charles Mingus), which also features Smith's tenor saxophone. If big bands are your bag, you won't hear much better this year."
RON BURNETT, THE YORK PRESS
★★★★ "US vocal star Kurt Elling guests on this Scottish National Orchestra session recorded in New York last year, singing a delicate and beautifully arranged account of Duke Ellington's Sound of Love" JOHN FORDHAM, THE GUARDIAN
★★★★ "An American adventure that works on every level. Kurt Elling's poised and velvety tones added to the fine Tommy Smith arrangement of 'Duke Ellington's Sound of Love' is an immediate talking point on this excellent record." MARLBANK
★★★★"Here they sensitively interpret new arrangements and gain heft from such heavyweight guests as warmhearted and on-form vocalist Kurt Elling" FINANCIAL TIMES
★★★★ STUART NICHOLSON, JAZZWISE
"Another blockbuster from our friends north of the border." BEBOP SPOKEN HERE
"This is going to be among my albums of the year."
SEBASTIAN SCOTNEY, LONDON JAZZ NEWS
"It doesn't really get much classier than this." JAZZ UK
"The second track, Duke Ellington's Sound Of Love introduces the fine, rich voice of Kurt Elling and Tommy Smith contributes his only saxophone solo on this gentle number." SANDY BROWN JAZZ
"Kurt Elling gets his moment on a beautiful arrangement of 'Duke Ellington's Sound of Love' that sounds slightly at odds with the powerhouse playing contained elsewhere. May be Tommy and the SNJO should have given the great man an album to himself, as this all to brief and tantalising piece can merely hint at the riches that further collaboration would yield." JAZZ VIEWS
"This band can do it all, from straight ahead to free jazz.”
"They hold themselves to the highest standards of musicianship and perform new
music and classic charts with ingenuity and verve. I am a fan!"
"A real pleasure to be invited to play on this record. It's a great band."
“The SNJO is one of the most inventive and contemporary orchestras
in the world. I am truly honoured to be a part of it. This record burns!”
“On the day I was in the studio with the SNJO, the orchestra almost melted the sound tiles.”
“They have it all: precision, great soloists, deep swing
and the one and only Tommy Smith at the helm!”
1 Splatch [feat. Mike Stern] [7:41]
Arranged by Fred Sturm, Composed by Marcus Miller
2 Duke Ellington's Sound of Love [feat. Kurt Elling & Tommy Smith] [6:06]
Arranged by Tommy Smith, Composed by Charles Mingus
3 Yes or No [feat. Joe Locke & Alyn Cosker] [5:43]
Arranged by Fred Sturm, Composed by Wayne Shorter
4 Pendulum [feat. Donny McCaslin, David Kikoski & David Liebman] [10:29]
Arranged by Jim McNeely, Composed by Richie Beirach
5 Dear Lord [feat. David Kikoski & Randy Brecker] [12:33]
Arranged by Geoffrey Keezer, Composed by John Coltrane
6 Quartet No. 1 (part 2) [feat. Bill Evans & David Kikoski] [9:40]
Arranged by Tommy Smith, Composed by Chick Corea
7 Pinocchio [feat. Michael Dease, Joel Frahm & Clarence Penn] [6:58]
Arranged by Jacob Mann, Composed by Wayne Shorter
All arrangements commissioned by the SNJO
Recorded June 2013 at Avatar Studios, NYC, USA
Engineer James Farber
Assistants Mike Bauer & Nate Odden
Photography by Paul Thorburn
Design by Nadja von Massow
Mixed August 2013 by Jan Erik Kongshaug, Rainbow Studios, Norway
Produced by Tommy Smith
Special thanks to Lindsay Robertson, SNJO Manager