COMPOSERS: Tony Kofi
PERFORMER: Tony Kofi, (saxophone), Jonathan Gee (piano), Ben Hazleton (bass), Winston Clifford (drums)
CATALOGUE NO: SPEC008
There is something refreshingly old school about Tony Kofi – and that’s not a contradiction in terms. Like the horn players of yore, the saxist has paid his dues.
At the London Jazz Festival he performed Monk’s entire repertoire – 70 songs – in one day. The jazz pours out of him. Like Cannonball Adderley or Coltrane, his sound reflects a yearning appetite for the music. It has ‘the cry’ within.
Then there’s the band. This is no fashionable project but a connected, working combo that dates back to the early 1990s. Pianist Gee’s comping, compact and bright, is the perfect foil for Kofi’s blue outpourings.
Hazleton’s bass provides an undertow, with sticksman Clifford splashing happily among the cymbals above. The hard bop styled originals have a late ’50s flavour too, from smoky ballads to brusque-toned swingers that don’t overstay their welcome.
A case of back to the future maybe, but who’s complaining? Garry Booth