Review by Raymond Luke Owens, 72, Troon: five stars
I am writing to express my deep admiration for Tommy Smith and the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra who produced a stunning performance of Mozart's 9th Piano Concerto which was arranged and re-imagined in a jazz format by their special guest Japanese piano maestro Makoto Ozone. They also performed Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, which was arranged for the orchestra by Tommy Smith a few years ago. The music was performed to a capacity crowd at the RCS on Sunday night, after a short tour around other Scottish venues. The format of the evening began with a pre-concert interview with the guest conducted by Tommy Smith, which was very revealing as it gave us an interesting insight into the complexities of transforming such a major piece of music into a jazz format. Mr Ozone reported that it took him two years to work out how he was going to begin the piece, once that was achieved the task apparently got much easier. Tommy Smith informed us that he first met Makoto at the Berkley School of Music in Boston thirty years ago when they were both students there and they have remained good friends ever since. Even if we accept that jazz doesn't enjoy a particularly large audience, it was gratifying to see a very deserved standing ovation at the end of the concert. There is no doubt that Tommy Smith and the SNJO deserve a much bigger stage as their talent and musicality is nothing short of astounding.