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Edinburgh is blessed with talented musicians, and equally a community that supports them. We've been speaking to some of the cities stars ahead of their perfromances with us at #EJBF19

Tommy Smith

What drew you to the music industry?

I fell in love with music after hearing Stan Getz and discovering how beautiful the saxophone looked and sounded.

Who are you inspired by?

Whoever I'm playing with in that moment.

Who is your favourite musician of all time? 

John Coltrane

Why a project with Fergus McCreadie?

I was invited to play a duo with Fergus by the festival after we played together at Islay Jazz Festival last year. I enjoyed that and then I heard his trio at a concert in the Queen’s Hall earlier this year, and that was really impressive. They’re very mature musicians for their age and playing music that’s very sophisticated and sounds very Scottish but is definitely in the jazz tradition.

What is your favourite part about being a musician? Your least favourite? Why?

Connecting with an audience; although the travelling can be a pain. The music generally makes everything you go through to play it worth the trouble, though.

Is there anyone you’re excited to see at this year’s Festival, and would recommend to our audiences?

I won't get to see much as I'm busy elsewhere most of the time but there's a really strong wave of young Scottish musicians that people should check out – Fergus McCreadie, Matt Carmichael, Graham Costello's STRATA, Mark Hendry. I'm not sure if Pete Johnstone is playing at the festival but he's really incredible; one of Scotland's greatest pianists. I’d urge people to hear him.

Any top Edinburgh Jazz Festival tips, best places to eat? Favourite venues to catch a show?

The Assembly Hall on the mound is really cool! I played there last year and really enjoyed the atmosphere and the setting. Other than that, I’d recommend that people make the most of the festival and just get out and hear as much as they can.

Tommy playes with Fergus McCreadie at Teviot Row on Sat 20th July. Advance tickets available here

Laura Macdonald 

What drew you to the music industry?

I don’t think I was drawn to the music industry.... it was all I ever did so was the natural progression to continue and have a career in the music industry.

Who are you inspired by?

So many people. Coltrane, Brecker, Vince Mendoza, Maria Schneider.... the list for me is endless. 

Who is your favourite musician of all time?

Ooft! Has to be John Coltrane.

Why a project with Van der Moelen Quintet?

Ellister and I played together a few years ago in a project in Dublin and really hit it off. She is a fantastic musician and we really loved playing together so finally this opportunity presented itself and we took it. It’s something we have wanted to do for a long time. 

What is your favourite part about being a musician?

The creative freedom. The opportunity to express yourself freely. It is so special to play jazz and I feel very lucky. Your least favourite?admin!  Why? It wastes a lot of creative time! 

Is there anyone you’re excited to see at this year’s Festival, and would recommend to our audiences?

The Jan Garbarek concert with Trilok Gurtu would be very interesting. I have never seen Jan live and have seen Trilok a few time and he’s always incredible. So, I’ll be trying to catch that. 

Any top Edinburgh Jazz Festival tips, best places to eat? Favourite venues to catch a show?

The tents featured in the festival are always memorable from an audience and performers perspective and the square they are located in always have great food, drink and atmosphere.

Laura plays Teviot Row on Wed 17th July. Advance tickets and more info available here.

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