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As we all know there are no live gigs taking place in the immediate future. However, any links to jazz streaming that are deemed suitable - i.e. with a professional approach - will be considered for posting.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Review: Tommy Smith - Karma

Tommy Smith (ten/sop/shakuhatchi/synth); Steve Hamilton (pno/synth/tambourine); Kevin Glasgow (elec. bass); Alyn Cosker (dms).
Karma, although central to Buddhism actually predates the arrival of The Buddha and examines the cause of inequality - in personal characteristics as well as wealth and health - among mankind. This I learned from the album notes in case you're thinking I am displaying previously hidden depths!
Karma, the album, follows the beliefs with each track representing differing aspects of Karmic philosophy.
Maybe it does, maybe it doesn't, but what it does represent is compelling contemporary jazz and there is certainly an indo-jazz feel about some of Smith's original compositions. This doesn't prevent him blowing almost to the point of no return (almost!) on tenor yet playing some lyrical soprano that wouldn't have been out of place in a Buddhist temple. Smith refers to this as his "Grunge Band" and there are moments where it has a sweaty cellar club late night groove going for it that merges imperceptably with the more mystical moments. On Star there is even an Irish influence. There are also Arabic and Japanese influences and - surprise - Scottish (McBuddha?)
Alyn Cosker, a long time associate of Smith, lays down the multiple rhythms demanded of him whilst Hamilton's piano and synth work add additional colour. Kevin Glasgow, one of the newer guys, is no slouch on six string bass guitar and is a vital and integral part of the group.
Repeated listenings to this CD have almost converted me to Buddhism!
The band embark on an almost nationwide tour next week beginning on June 24 in Aberdeen. I say 'almost' as, sadly, Newcastle/Gateshead are bypassed. This would have been ideal for The Sage or Gateshead Old Town Hall but instead we will have to make do with the next best thing and grab this superb CD.
Lance.

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