Saxophonist Tommy Smith and pianist Brian Kellock are Scotland’s international jazz ambassadors, having worked with jazz’s leading players and wowed audiences on both sides of the Atlantic. Recently acclaimed as “world class” by Jazz Journal, they are master musicians who spin classic songs into creative gold and as the musical director and featured soloist respectively of the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra’s enthusiastically received In the Spirit of Duke and Rhapsody in Blue Live albums, they bring a special musical relationship to the stage. Their concerts are intimate and spontaneous: music played with passion and tenderness and presented with humour and bonhomie.
Individually Smith and Kellock have outstanding musical pedigrees. Smith toured the world with jazz legend Gary Burton at the age of eighteen, going on to record for the definitive jazz label, Blue Note, work with myriad jazz greats including Chick Corea and Jaco Pastorius and found and direct the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra from 1995 to the present. His compositions and soloist work extend to the symphonic arena and in addition to his duo with Kellock he tours and records with Norwegian double bass master Arild Anderson’s trio, which features on the prestigious ECM Records and is widely regarded as one of the leading groups working in jazz today.
Kellock emerged as a vital keyboard talent with blues singer Tam White’s Dexters and as the pianist in the defining group of Scottish jazz in the late 1980s, the John Rae Collective, before forming his own award-winning trio. Over the past twenty-five years he has become the pianist of choice for a veritable phone bookful of top jazz talent, with saxophonists Stanley Turrentine, Scott Hamilton, Spike Robinson and Charlie Rouse and singers Sheila Jordan and Carol Kidd among those who have called on his encyclopaedic accompaniment gifts. He has also made the duo format a particular specialism, working with American west coast hero Herb Geller, former Ellington bandsman Joe Temperley and leading British singers Liane Carroll and Tina May as well as with Tommy Smith.