SNJO plays Birth of the Cool

The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra with guest trumpeter Paolo Fresu is to play a series of concerts in February celebrating two seminal works by Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool and Miles Ahead

Next month the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Tommy Smith is to play a series of concerts around Scotland that pay homage to two Miles Davis albums, Birth of the Cool (released 1957, recorded 1949 and 1950) and Miles Ahead (1957).

The orchestra will be fronted in its Davis tributes by trumpeter Paolo Fresu (pictured). Described as "a deeply personal communicator", the Sardinian musician is known internationally for his trumpet and flugelhorn work as well as innovative arrangements and compositions.

The Miles Ahead and Birth of the Cool programme, beginning with a pre-concert talk, features the full orchestra of 6 trumpets, 4 trombones, 3 clarinets and 2 French horns, plus piano, tuba, flute, bass and drums. The Gil Evans-arranged Miles Ahead starts the evening and features pieces such as My Ship and The Duke. It's followed by Birth of the Cool with arrangements by Gerry Mulligan, Gil Evans and John Lewis and including tunes such as Darn That Dream and Deception.

The SNJO recently won Best Jazz Ensemble in both the Parliamentary and British Jazz Awards 2012, and performed in the first Shetland Festival and at Jazz Sous Les Pommiers last year. They are due to release their new CD, In the Spirit of Duke, a celebration of Duke Ellington, in February 2013. The SNJO's live readings of Duke received a enthusiastic review from Jazz Journal last autumn. 

The SNJO with Paolo Fresu play Dundee on 21 February, Edinburgh on 22 February, Glasgow on 23 February, and Stirling on 24 February. You can find out more and book online at

Sally Evans-Darby, 30 January 2013

Photos by Roberto Cifarelli and Riccardo Crimi

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