Born in Nottingham but having played in and around London for years, Tony Kofi has been a stalwart of the UK Jazz scene since the days of the Jazz Warriors at the start of the nineties. He’s played with a lot of the UK’s main Jazz musicians including Courtney Pine and my old mates Byron Wallen (trumpet) and Ashley Slater (trombone).
Although he can play flute and soprano sax, tonight he’s playing alto sax and leading a Brighton-based combo comprising drums, double bass and piano (featuring Brighton Jazz stalwart Mark Edwards on piano).
It’s a versatile and engaging set, including pieces by Dexter Gordon, Thelonius Monk, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins and Charlie Parker. So, several of the Jazz greats covered but Tony Kofi and band make the tunes their own with great individual solos, nuanced playing and an obvious love for the material they cover.
Tony Kofi is known to be a huge fan of Thelonius Monk and spent a good five years studying his improvisation and composition style, so he plays the Monk tune with obvious delight and it really shows. He’s famous for having played a gig where he and his bandmates performed all of Monk’s recorded work in one six hour show (that’s a marathon gig I’d like to have been at).
The only thing I don’t like about Jazz gigs is having to sit down to hear it live as that’s what I do when I listen to this stuff at home, (a minor gripe but to me, Jazz is dance music).
A great player backed by the cream of Brighton’s Jazz musicians was always going to be a great experience. Brilliant stuff.
Cheers to Carole for reminding me about this gig and for coming with me. 🙂