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Tommy Smith & Peter Johnstone

Tommy Smith & Peter Johnstone

Smith really is a modern master of the tenor sax

London Jazz News

Johnstone was particularly spectacular, keeping up a complex bass figure with his left hand while his right hand played a beautiful Middle Eastern melody.

Rochester City Newspaper



  • Tommy Smith OBE - Saxophone
  • Peter Johnstone - Piano


Jazz classics from Duke Ellington & Billy Strayhorn and Stan Getz & Bill Evans and pieces by more recent heroes including Chick Corea and Michael Brecker feature alongside original compositions by Tommy Smith himself and melodies from various folk traditions. Concert programmes are often chosen spontaneously but the quality and variety of pace, including both uptempo, energetic pieces and more serene ballads, remain consistent.


As audiences at events including Buxton International Festival, Rochester Jazz Festival in New York and Aberdeen Jazz Festival can confirm, Tommy Smith & Peter Johnstone represent two generations of Scottish jazz mastery in world class performances.

Tommy is one of the world's leading saxophonists. A presence on the international jazz scene since his teenage years, when he toured the world with vibes virtuoso Gary Burton's quintet, Tommy has gone on to record with the definitive jazz label, Blue Note and work with myriad jazz greats including Chick Corea, John Scofield, Randy Brecker, Dame Cleo Laine and Jack DeJohnette.

His compositions and soloist work extend to the symphonic arena, with albums including Modern Jacobite, recorded with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, and as its founding director he has built the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra into an internationally regarded, award-winning big band. This ensemble's collaborations now range from tributes to Frank Sinatra, with American singing star Kurt Elling, to new music for jazz soloists, traditional musicians and Japanese taiko drummers and an adaptation of Peter and the Wolf that has toured successfully in Japan, Norway and Scotland.

Tommy's touring and recording commitments also include Norwegian double bass master Arild Anderson's trio, which records for the prestigious ECM label and is widely regarded as one of the leading groups working in jazz today. His own group, the Tommy Smith Quartet: Embodying the Light, has received ecstatic responses for its eponymous album and programmes dedicated to Tommy’s greatest influence, jazz saxophone legend John Coltrane.

The quartet’s pianist, Peter Johnstone has become an inspiration to Tommy, providing the drive of a rhythm section and expansive colour in his accompaniments. A former Young Scottish Jazz Musician of the Year and a Yamaha Scholar, Peter is the first student on the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s internationally admired jazz course to return as a teacher. He leads his own International Organ Quartet, with New York vibes master Joe Locke, and features extensively with the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra. He also plays with organ trio Prime and with saxophonists Helena Kay and Paul Towndrow, and he won the prestigious Peter Whittingham Jazz Prize with the Scottish band Square One. In addition to his jazz talents, Peter is also an accomplished classical pianist, having completed his Masters degree at the RCS in 2016.