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Saturday, 23 May 2020 21:12

Tony Kofi - Another Kind Of Soul

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Kofi's Portrait Of Cannonball.

To quote American composer, arranger and music producer Adrian Younge "Everybody is inspired by things in life". 

Tony Kofi cites Adderley's work as an early inspiration and adds "His sense of rhythm was a revelation." 

Julian Edwin 'Cannonball' Adderley (1928 to 1975) spent a very short time on this earth, yet achieved so much. So much more than many artists today with his first release in 1955 (Presenting Cannon Ball). 

It was widely known Adderley had an interest as an educator and in doing so, left a legacy so significant that if you owned 10% or heard 50% of it, you could consider yourself well-versed in the nuances of Adderley's playing styles.  

Kofi exercised sound judgement during the track selection for this memorable live performance at The Bear Club in Luton, UK. " Selecting the material was a tough decision because we have so many, but we chose a combination of his really famous pieces and some not so well known," says Kofi.  

The selection would be bewildering for any artist paying respect to role-models. As a performer you have to select a great tune, but you don't want to cover the classics that have been played a thousand times. Kofi's solution to this challenge was to add two original compositions that could be considered as modern jazz standards. 

When I hear the tunes, I imagine the style of clothes, the food people ate and the generalised social activities of that time. This must have been cool period.  

New composition by pianist Alex Webb, A Portrait of Cannonball is short timeline portraying the ups and downs of Adderley. A razzmatazz introducing the cha-cha-cha rhythm that segues to an emotional solo from Andy Davies. This tune is in stark contrast to Operation Breadbasket, written by Kofi, which is a very energetic swing. The quintet utilises the full octave of the four instruments and deliver a compelling performance. 

Released in 1957 Another Kind Of Soul and written Nat Adderley. Today Tony Kofi and Andy Davis make the brass sing. This playing is at another level and hard to distinguish from the original. 

I am not fond of downbeat jazz, but the technical flow behind Stars Fell on Alabama has to be unquestioned. I gave it a 10 out of 10 solely for this performance. When Humphrey Bogart said "play it again Sam", I think he meant Tony. 

Andrew Cleyndert elivers a provocative bass solo in Things Are Getting Better taken from Adderley's 1959 album that featured Milt Jackson.

Watch Kofi and his quartet perform Things Are Getting Better live at the Hideaway here:

Tony Kofi introduces Sack O' Woe in a relaxed and confident manner -" You know what that means? -  Blues", followed by laughter from the band with a precise and rambunctious launch into this huge swing number. Andrew Cleyndert plays a commanding bass solo to rapturous applause from the crowd. They love it!

This recording is only available on limited edition vinyl and digital format. Great for the vinyl junkies, bad if you are last in the queue. There will be no CDs other than the promo press issued to the journalist. That's it 'Finito'. Once they're gone, they're gone. 

The overall performance is vibrant and full of confidence. Just listen to the crowd laud after every number, although the recording quality is slightly under par as the audio seems slightly over-compressed. It is tough producing a live recording without losing the dynamics. However, overall, the album has been expertly arranged and, on the path, to be a commercial success. 


Label: The Last Music Company


Read 3524 times Last modified on Sunday, 24 May 2020 08:49

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