TOMMY Smith is a supreme saxophonist.

And come Friday (November 9, 8.30pm), the distinguished sax player brings his exciting music full of spirit, passion and emotion to the Zeffirellis stage.

The Edinburgh-raised musician formed his new quartet in February last year to mark both his 50th birthday and the half centenary of the death of his greatest inspiration, jazz icon John Coltrane.

They put together a album, Embodying The Light, which met with glowing reviews on its release in July, with The Scotsman describing its mix of Coltrane favourites and Smith originals as an "outstanding achievement" and The Herald’s Keith Bruce declaring it "Absolutely top drawer: fluid, articulate, commanding and constantly surprising."

Following an enthusiastically received sold out concert at Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival 2017, the group toured the UK and drew a capacity crowd to the world famous Ronnie Scott’s jazz club in London.

The quartet features two of Smith’s protégés from his youth orchestra, pianist Peter Johnstone, who was the Young Scottish Jazz Musician of the Year in 2012, and bassist Calum Gourlay, who now features regularly with the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra. On drums is the hugely experienced Dutchman Sebastiaan de Krom, who has previously worked with Herbie Hancock and Jamie Cullum.

In concert they play without amplification, a policy Tommy also favours when working with his long-time duo partner, pianist Brian Kellock.

"I’ve nothing against amplified music," he says. "My previous band, Karma, played powerful electric jazz-rock. With this group, it just feels more natural to play acoustically. It makes us listen to each other more carefully and the audience gets to hear the true sounds of the instruments and the band."

A presence on the global jazz scene since his teenage years with Gary Burton’s Whiz Kids quintet, Tommy has recorded for Blue Note and ECM Records and tours the world with Norwegian bass master Arild Andersen’s trio, widely regarded as one of the premier groups working in jazz today.

The Tommy Smith Quartet plays Zeffirellis at Ambleside on Friday, November 9 (8.30pm).

Telephone 015394-33845.