The Tommy Smith Youth Jazz Orchestra start their 10th Anniversary tour tomorrow. They’re playing five gigs throughout the Highlands and Islands:

  • Thursday 13th: the MacPhail Centre, Ullapool
  • Friday 14th: An Lanntair, Stornoway
  • Saturday 15th: Lyth Arts Centre, Wick
  • Sunday 16th: Sabhal Mor Ostaig, Skye
  • Monday 17th: Plockton High School, Plockton

As well as these concerts, they will also be holding a series of workshops which will involve local primary and secondary schools as well as adults and existing jazz groups.

So why the Highlands and Islands? Well, according to their most recent newsletter,

Many of our players were initially inspired to take up jazz after hearing live concerts and so for our anniversary celebrations, we wanted to offer these opportunities to others, deciding to tour the Highlands and Islands where relatively little jazz is played.

A fine idea, and one which I hope they and others will continue with, and ideally take to the rural south of Scotland as well. When was the last time there was any serious jazz in Stranraer, for instance?