This week’s big gig features the brilliant Scottish saxophonist Tommy Smith, who brings his newest band into the Warwick Arts Centre Studio tonight (Thursday) at the invitation of Jazz Coventry.
Karma is a quartet with Steve Hamilton on piano and keyboards, Kevin Glasgow on six-string electric bass and Alyn Cosker on drums, and the music they play is all written by Smith, though at least one tune will sound familiar.
Smith is hugely flexible in the music he chooses to play, being able to rework the romanticism of Gershwin or Ellington one minute and hit hard with jazz-rock fusion the next.
Karma explores that latter style with a lot of full-on, fiery playing, which at times calls to my mind the Mahavishnu Orchestra, though the harmonic and rhythmic influences range further and wider.
On the band’s recent CD, there are some Arabic-sounding scales here and there, as well as scurrying Indian rhythms.
Tomorrow is based on a Yemeni folk song, while Sun has some Japanese sounds from Smith’s sakuhatchi flute.
But they can be gentler, too, and Smith’s reworking of the Irish folk song Star Of The County Down – now called simply Star – from the band’s recent CD, is a prime example.
Live the band, all four musicians of great virtuosity and wide expression, should be amazing.
Tommy Smith’s Karma plays from 7.45pm and tickets are £14 from www.warwickartscentre.co.uk.
Also on Thursday evening, the Jonathan Silk Quartet is at The Yardbird.
The drummer leads a young group with Nick Jurd on double bass, and John Fleming and Nick Rundle forming the two-tenors frontline.