The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra Peter & The Wolf CD album Review  Saturday 15th December 2018

With Edinburgh Entertainment & Arts


Peter & the Wolf, Serge Prokofieff’s ever popular children’s classic gets an inspired re-imagining in this new CD album from the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra which will be on general release from Friday 25th January 2019 on the Spartacus Records label.

This fresh new look at the story of Peter & the Wolf is a combination of top Scottish talents from the theatre, writing and music as SNJO director Tommy Smith has created new orchestral arrangements here that take the original musical score from 30 minutes to 64 minutes.   This extension allows time to incorporate a new story for Peter told mostly in Scots language written by highly rated writer and former Scots Makar Liz Lochhead.  The story of Peter is narrated by well known actor Tam Dean Burn.

As with the original work, specific instruments are assigned to the different characters in the story, and as well as featuring individual musicians and the whole SNJO orchestra so obviously having fun with these arrangements,  this performance also features world class jazz and classical pianist Makoto Ozone on piano.  Makoto Ozone was the special guest for the live performances of this work by the SNJO back in February this year, and these live performances also featured Makoto Ozone’s vivid re-imagining of another enchanting piece, Saint-Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals.  The performance on this CD was recorded live on Saturday, 24th February at The Queen’s Hall in Edinburgh.  I was at this live performance and reviewed it at the time, and it was a magical evening of music which this CD has managed to capture for posterity.

Peter & the Wolf is a CD that works on many levels as not only do lovers of Jazz and followers of the SNJO get to hear some fine arrangements and performances, but it is also a story that will hold the attention of young and old alike.  Another important aspect of this work (as with the original) is that it is a doorway into music for young children as the assignment of specific instrument to characters in the story serves perfectly as an introduction to those instruments and their sounds for children.  Here, as with the original live performances, SNJO have found the perfect key to allow young children to open the door into a magical world of music.

There has been a lot of care and attention put into not only the technical recording and sound production of this CD, but also to the end product and the CD comes with a complete transcript of the story making it possible to listen to Peter’s story as you read the words – perhaps reading them to a child and introducing them not only to music but also to some new Scots words.

The only small fault that Peter & the Wolf has is that the general release is after Christmas, but the album is available NOW from the SNJO’s own website at

and from Spartacus Records direct at

If you are quick, there still might be time to get this one onto your Christmas list and into that Christmas stocking.  If not, put it onto your “early purchase for 2019” list.





Peter and the Wolf by Serge Prokofieff

Arranged and Orchestrated by Tommy Smith

Conductor Tommy Smith

Narrator Tam Dean Burn

Piano Makoto Ozone

Text Adapted by Liz Lochhead

Flute Yvonne Robertson

Saxophones Martin Kershaw, Paul Towndrow, Konrad Wiszniewski, Bill Fleming

Trumpets James Davison, Sean Gibbs, Tom MacNiven, Lorne Cowieson

Trombones Chris Greive, Liam Shortall, Michael Owers

Bass Calum Gourlay

Drums Alyn Cosker


Music & Text commissioned by the SNJO 2017

Recorded live on 24 February 2018 at Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh, Scotland


Review by Tom King




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