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Tommy Smith - tenor saxophoneBrian Kellock - piano
★★★★ GUARDIAN ★★★★ SCOTSMAN ★★★★ SCOTLAND ON SUNDAY
① Without A Song
③ You've Changed
④ Don't Blame Me
⑤ Moonlight In Vermont
⑧ Honeysuckle Rose
⑨ Pure Imagination
⑩ Bernie's Tune
⑪ You Must Believe In Spring
Recorded 6 October 2004
Tillie Studios, Scotland
"An engrossing encounter" JAZZ UK (Pete Martin)
"I've never heard anything from him quite as mellow as this" TELEGRAPH (Martin Gayford)
★★★★ "Subtly captivating" GUARDIAN (John Fordham)
CD of the week "fascinating" OBSERVER (Dave Gelly)
★★★★ "Charged with musical energy & sensitive emotional expression" SCOTSMAN (Kenny Mathieson)
"Luxuriously rich" RONNIE SCOTT"S MAGAZINE (Chris Parker)
★★★★ "The result is some of both musicians' loveliest playing"
"A joy from start to finish" SCOTLAND ON SUNDAY (Allison Kerr)
Saxophonist Tommy Smith celebrates the jazz tradition with his new mellow standards duo album featuring Brian Kellock on piano. The Tommy Smith/Brian Kellock duo began life on 27th July 2002 at the Edinburgh International Jazz Festival. This first concert together was recorded and the live recording, 'Bezique', was released on Spartacus. It was chosen by Dave Gelly as his Jazz CD of the Week and Kenny Mathieson awarded it 5 Stars in the Scotsman. Rob Adams (Scottish Herald) wrote about the two musicians that "their repertoire may be entirely cover versions, but the playing, personality, boldness, creativity, interpretative skill, extraordinary depth of musical knowledge, bewitching layers of delicacy, and sheer artistry are all their own." Peter Bacon, The Birmingham Post, reviewed a live performance saying "Both men have technique verging on the gargantuan, yet the music is never virtuosic for virtuosity's sake. Smith is the complete saxophonist, possessing a tone muscular when needed, and sweet as a nut on the ballads. Kellock does everything a post-Oscar Peterson pianist should."
John Fordham Friday February 4, 2005 The Guardian
A rematch for the Scottish saxophone-and-piano partnership of Tommy Smith and Brian Kellock, following their fine debut on a standards repertoire with Bezique. Once again, the themes are from the Broadway songbook, and once again the standard of playing and the empathy between these two - who can play anything they can think, and who increasingly think of things other people don't - is subtly captivating.
Smith's beautiful tenor tone on Without a Song is trancelike before the swing cranks up, while the usually headlong Cherokee is taken at a deliberately slow purr. You've Changed makes the tenor sound like Johnny Hodges' fluting alto, and Kellock's crystalline intro to Skylark is briefly exquisite. The wispy epilogue on Michel Legrand's You Must Believe in Spring, meanwhile, turns on the saxophonist's uncanny control of timbre.
Smith is now established as the Jan Garbarek of orthodox jazz, and this scintillating partnership - for those who reach for the off switch when standards surface - represents a respectful and creative definition of what it can still be in the 21st century. Only the predominantly low-key mood of these tracks comes anywhere near to being a drawback.
Jim Love 29/1/2005 The Inverness Courier
Scotland's finest follow 2003's live album, "Bezique", with this studio recording of standards. All but one are taken at a slow or medium tempo - even "Cherokee" - which gives the set an "after hours" feel. Only "Bernie's Tune" is taken at a bouncier pace. Smith, who stretches out on "Without A Song", plays and embellishes melodies with a rich, warm tone, elegant turn of phrase and the full, expressive range of the tenor.
Kellock adds sparkle, compensating for the absence of bass and drums and deftly varying his touch and style to match the mood of tunes ranging from the atmospheric "moonlight In Vermont" to a buoyant "Manhattan".
Entertainment North East
A second volume of their favourite standards featuring simply tenor saxophone and piano. Tempos are mostly on the gentle side with Moonlight In Vermont and You've Changed for example. Nice to hear Smith in romantic mood and Kellock is at his best in this material.