Born and raised in Edinburgh, Scotland, Tommy Smith
is a big-toned tenor saxophonist who has played both straight-ahead jazz and fusion. It was in Edinburgh that Smith became seriously interested in jazz as a teenager, and he was only 15 when he was accepted to the renowned Berklee College of Music. In 1984, the saxman moved to Boston to attend Berklee, and, in 1986, an 18-year-old Smith was hired as a sideman by Gary Burton at the recommendation of Chick Corea. Smith signed with Blue Note in 1989, recording 1990's Burton-produced fusion/post-bop date Peeping Tom
and 1991's straight-ahead Standards
. After finishing up at Berklee, Smith returned to Scotland, where he signed with the Glasgow-based Linn label and recorded several albums in the mid- to late '90s: Misty Morning & No Time
, Beasts of Scotland
, and the Duke Ellington/Billy Strayhorn tribute The Sound of Love
. Blue Smith
, his first release of the new century, followed in the spring of 2000.