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Tommy Smith

The Christmas Concert

Tommy Smith has made a serious jazz album that takes the raw material of familiar Christmas staples and builds them into much more elaborate harmonic structures.

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Tommy Smith – tenor saxophone
Gareth Williams – piano
Orlando Le Fleming – bass
Sebastiaan De Krom – drums

  1. Winter Wonderland
  2. God Rest, Ye Merry Gentlemen
  3. Auld Land Syne
  4. I’ll Be Home For Christmas
  5. The Holy & The Ivy
  6. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
  7. We Three Kings
  8. The Christmas Song

All music arranged by by Tommy Smith Recorded live in Glasgow on 22 December 2001


  • Winter Wonderland -
  • God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen -
  • Silent Night -
  • Auld Land Syne -
  • I'll Be Home for Christmas -
  • The Holy and the Ivy -
  • Have Yourself a Merry Christmas -
  • We Three Kings -
  • The Christmas Song -
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Friday, December 20, 2002

This might sound a bit of a turkey, as you might say, since it’s composed entirely of Christmas songs, played by Scottish saxophonist Smith and a trio. But it’s impressive how well the sentimentality is replaced by a mysterious, almost abstract air. Winter Wonderland becomes a glimmering musical landscape rather than a Christmas card, with Smith’s haunting tenor sax curling over Gareth Williams’ enigmatic piano riff, and God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen is a hard-toned, thundering Coltrane-quartet swinger. Smith’s superb tone control at low volumes poignantly reinvents Silent Night; Auld Lang Syne has a cocky strut to it, and Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas murmurs like a drier Ben Webster before turning to the lazy mid-tempo swing effortlessly furnished by Orlando le Fleming (bass) and Sebastiaan de Krom (drums). Whatever he does, Smith sounds like a man in charge these days.

The Guardian, John Fordham

Tommy Smith, Scotland’s premier jazz saxophonist has made a serious jazz album which takes the basic material of familiar Christmas staples and builds them into much more elaborate harmonic structures. Smith’s excellent quartet is a working band rather than an ad hoc gathering, and this is obvious in the tight-knit empathy of their ensemble playing. The rich harmonies and shifting time signatures of the music keep everyone on their toes and make rewarding launching pads for solo improvisation. Slow tunes such as “Silent Night” or “I’ll be Home for Christmas” provide further evidence of what a lyrical and expressive ballad player the saxophonist now is. And, the players dig deeply into the uptempo material, transforming chestnuts such as “We Three Kings” into inventive and swinging jazz excursions.