TONY Kofi is one of the country’s most loved saxophonists. Watching him play live is like enjoying an out of body experience. Your body might remain part of the audience, but your heart and soul are firmly with him on stage as he temporarily transports you to a better world.
It’s as close to ecstasy as you can get. Grab some of it if you can (there are plenty of opportunities in the coming weeks). You will not be disappointed. Jazz par excellence.
What makes Kofi such a brilliant live performer is that he puts everything into his playing. It’s both exhilarating and exhausting to watch, occasionally stretching final chords to their limit. Quite thrilling. A master at work.
He’s also modest and humble as befits an individual who has had to battle hard to get to the top of his profession.
On Tuesday night (November 9), he graced the Pizza Express Jazz Club in London’s Soho with his presence. And he didn’t disappoint. Far from it. Impeccably dressed, Kofi had the audience wrapped around his little finger as he paid tribute to the jazz master that was Julian Edwin ‘Cannonball’ Adderley. A musician who made recordings with Miles Davis and John Coltrane and was very much a founding father of soul-jazz. Adderley, said Kofi, left a great legacy and played jazz for the people before dying far too young from a heart attack at the tender age of 46.
Leaning heavily on his 2020 live album Another Kind of Soul – A Portrait of Cannonball – the night’s highlights were numerous. Starting with A Portrait of Cannonball, reaching highs with Stars Fell on Alabama and Things Are Getting Better, and finishing with an upbeat Work Song, this was a night to rejoice in the fact that live music is back with a bang.
Kofi also took time out to pay homage to American saxophonist Pee Wee Ellis, who died in late September, by playing The Chicken. Ellis, said Kofi, was a mentor to him in London and encouraged him to be brave as a musician.
Although it was very much Kofi’s show, his fellow musicians all added to the experience: Alex Webb on piano, Andrew Cleyndert on double bass, Alfosno Vitale on drums and Andy Davies (complete with Peaky Blinders’ hat) on trumpet and flugelhorn. Some of the interplay between Kofi and Davies was borderline extraordinary.
A night to remember. Live music at its very best. Glorious jazz.
For upcoming Tony Kofi gigs, visit: https://tonykofimusic.com/events