live at the Jazz Centre Edinburgh

4-star **** FORMED by the renowned Scots saxophonist Tommy Smith, the Youth Jazz Orchestra is a non-profit collective of some of the most promising jazz babies the country has to offer.

Jammed on to a tiny stage, this 20-strong crew ran the risk of knocking each other unconscious with their slide trombones and such like, but ducked and swerved in all the right places to present a cool evening of big band standards.

Smith conducted his young charges with understated ease, and even joined them on stage at the piano during a fine version of Stella by Starlight.

Absolutely fantastic playing all round, particularly from the sax and rhythm sections (a bass is never freer than when it’s walkin’), this was a brilliant showing from young jazz Scotland and testament to old-hand Smith’s commitment to the scene he helped to reignite in the 1980s.

by Paul Whitelaw | The Scotsman

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