Tommy Smith

Misty Morning and No Time

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Although Misty Morning and No Time is entirely instrumental, the 1994 date was inspired by the work of Scottish poet Norman MacCaig. Those who aren't seriously into jazz might have a hard time understanding how something without words (a jazz instrumental) could pay tribute to something that uses words to get its point across (a poem). But there's certainly a parallel between the two -- just as a poet like MacCaig uses the English language to convey what he's feeling, Smith uses his tenor sax to express his emotions. Of course, one needn't be familiar with MacCaig's work to appreciate Misty Morning and No Time, which points to the fact that while Smith was still heavily influenced by John Coltrane in 1994, he was sounding increasingly original with each album. "Estuary," "The Root of It," and other Smith originals aren't innovative, but they demonstrate that the post-bopper was determined to sound like his own man and not like an outright clone of Coltrane. Again, you won't hear any of MacCaig's words on this CD -- rather, Smith will take the mood and feeling of a particular MacCaig poem and use one of his own melodies to express that type of mood. Recorded when the Scottish saxman was 27, Misty Morning and No Time is among his best albums.

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