The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra

Michael Stephen Clark has written press releases, programme notes and artist bios for and on on behalf of The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra. The example below was written for the series of concerts showcasing the music of veteran bandleader Stan Kenton.


Scottish National Jazz Orchestra (SNJO) directed by Tommy Smithproudly presents



Edinburgh Queen’s Hall

Box office: 0131 668 2019


Glasgow Royal Conservatoire

Box office: 0141 332 5057


Stirling Albert Hall

Box office: 01786 473544

Throughout the fabulous ‘40’s and well into the 1950’s the world was swinging living and loving to the gigantic sounds of the Big Bands. Few were adored more than the large orchestra led by the influential composer, arranger and pianist Stan Kenton (1911-1979).

Tommy Smith once more leads the SNJO through the jazz hall of fame in a series of Scottish concert dates that promise to re-ignite the hottest music of the post war era and beyond.

Stan Kenton’s forty-year career as a bandleader began with his Artistry in Rhythm Orchestra and it made him a popular figure throughout the 1940’s. Tunes such as Eager Beaver, Tampico and Intermission Riff featured his brash, brassy trademark sound and further consolidated his growing fame.

But it was The Peanut Vendor in 1947 that made him a household name on both sides of the Atlantic. This infectious piece of danceable Latin Jazz proved to be his enduring signature tune, and its bright good-natured appeal still speaks to the young and the young at heart alike.

Kenton consistently used sassy Afro-Cuban stylings and European Classicism in his vast repertoire but by the 1950’s he had begun to explore more modernist, avant-garde themes. He later returned to his familiar swing roots before becoming an influential jazz educator.

Leading Scottish saxophonist, composer and educator Tommy Smith directs the acclaimed SNJO in a celebration of Stan Kenton’s best-known and most riotously expressive originals alongside singular readings of standards such as Love For Sale and Fascinating Rhythm.

Tommy Smith founded the multi award-winning SNJO in 1995 and it is currently the UK’s foremost jazz orchestra. Its members include the brightest and best of jazz talent living and working in Scotland today.

Press: Lindsay Robertson, SNJO Manager. 07827 966735

Repertoire: Tommy Smith, Artistic Director. 07710 585231 /

Sponsors: Creative Scotland, Wallace Brass and Arts & Business Scotland.

♦ ♦ ♦

Gavin McLaughlin’s photographic portfolio was enhanced when given he was access to SNJO rehearsals for their Miles Davis series. His stunning candid shots of musicians at work such as the one above are among the best examples of a coveted glimpse behind the scenes before a major event in the music calendar.

Here are more photographs from this series: