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Monday Recommendation: Tommy Smith On Coltrane

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Tommy Smith
Tommy Smith, Embodying The Light: A Dedication To John Coltrane (Spartacus Records)

Fifty years ago in the aftermath of John Coltrane’s death, it would have seemed unlikely that a definitive tribute to the saxophone master would someday come from a Scottish tenor player. Yet, so universal is Coltrane’s presence in jazz and so deeply has Tommy Smith absorbed and incorporated his lessons that Smith’s tribute album is an important achievement and a moving listening experience. His rhythm section perfectly conforms to Smith’s conception of Coltrane’slegacy. Young Peter Johnstone is the pianist, with bassist Calum Gourlay and the veteran drummer Sebastiaan de Krom. This is a first, a Rifftides Monday Recommendation with video, but it is unusual to have video of such quality as this from the BBC’s Glasgow studio, The Quay. Here are Smith and his quartet on BBC television with four pieces from Embodying The Light,—Smith’s “Transformation,” Coltrane’s “Dear Lord,” Gershwin’s “Summertime” and “Coltrane’s “Naima.”

The CD’s nine pieces also include Coltrane’s “Resolution,” “Transition,” and “The Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost,” plus Smith’s title tune and its alter-ego “Embodying The Darkness.”

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This story appears courtesy of Rifftides by Doug Ramsey.
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