Released in April, award-winning saxophonist Tony Kofi’s ‘Another Kind of Soul’ is a stunning album which explores the music of Cannonball Adderley from the mid-50s Miles Davis work to his soul-Jazz of the 60s. Recorded live in the wonderful ‘Bear Club’ in Luton, it a very highly recommended listen. With the release of the album, a tour was booked with dates across the UK at the best UK Jazz venues. Then, COVID happened and everything was put on hold.
After what really does seem like a lifetime, live music is slowly but surely returning to London. And as with all disaster stories, some sort of superhero is needed to save the day – or at least save one evening. The famous 606 Jazz club in London has opened up and I was thrilled to see that Tony Kofi was on the schedule. Now, ok, Tony Kofi, did not technically wear a cape or even, ha, a mask, but the music it brought to us that evening, was definitely his superpower. We were ready.
The 606 Club was packed – a sold-out show, buzzing with excitement. There was a slightly different type of excitement to your average gig and you could sense an underlying feeling of relief, joy and a belief that things will get better.
Tony welcomed us and explained that we were there to ‘celebrate the lineage of Cannonball Adderley’s music and celebrate his legacy’ and my goodness, Tony showed us the way. With Alex Webb on piano, Andy Cleyndert on Bass and Alfonso Vitale on drums, it was an evening of stunning musicianship, beautiful solos and grooves to die for. The set was everything you could have wished and there was an astonishing moment with the 3rd piece in, a simply gorgeous waltz – Blue Daniel by Frank Rosolino. As I looked around the room, everyone was swinging in their seats and I mean everyone – a head movement, a body swing, a hand tapping on the table – the whole room was swinging along. This really epitomizes Tony’s thoughts behind Cannonball’s music and why he choose this legends work to perform: ‘He had a happy and joyous way of playing and communicating with the audience’
The choice of tracks was perfect and highlights for me include a beautiful performance of ‘Stars Fell on Alabama’ and a performance of ‘Saudade’ that almost set the room on fire. There was also a gorgeous moment when Tony announced the next track ‘Things are Getting Better’ and a cheeky but knowing smile came across his face and the whole audience cheered. Live music is indeed back, and we were all loving it.
This wonderful evening reminded me – and I believe everyone there – just how powerful music is – for the performer and as an audience member. Music helps us make sense of things. It takes us to another place but also keeps us in the moment. It truly heals the mind and soul. Music is the ultimate form of communication and so very needed during these unsettling times. Tony Kofi showed us this power, embodying Cannonball Adderley and communicating not only Cannonball’s message through this glorious music, but Tony’s heart, soul and the glory of Jazz.
Senior writer: Fiona Ross
Photo Credits: Fiona Ross (LIVE Gig Photos) and Artist.
YouTube Video: alexwebbsongwriter
Last modified: September 14, 2020