@ The Crypt, St. Giles Church, London
21 June 2013
The Crypt…. For jazz lovers
who love to experience jazz as it should be… high octane and
extremely up close and personal!
Click an image to enlarge.
Winner, Best instrumentalist at the 2008 BBC Jazz
awards. Winner, best Ensemble at the 2005 Parliamentary Jazz Awards.
Winner, Radio 3 Jazz line up album of the year 2005 BBC Jazz awards.
Nominated for a MOBO award 2008. Instructor of Saxophones (Alto/Soprano
/ Tenor & Baritone) Flutes, Piano, Recorder, Percussion instruments
and music notation.
Born in Nottingham to West African parents, the
playing career of saxophonist Tony Kofi when he chanced upon a series
of jazz workshops, run in Leicester by Nick Hislam. Kofi also took
lessons from local saxophonist and jazz mentor George Carmichael
and was bitten by the jazz bug and made a point of making the journey
to go along to each session. This laid the seeds for what was to
come, a four-year stint at the legendary Berklee College of Music
in Boston Mass. USA, on a full scholarship music diploma.
While in the US, Kofi studied with such musical
luminaries as Andy Magee and Billy Pearce, gaining invaluable experience
that he then put to best use when he returned to the UK. From 1991,
Kofi was part of the UK's leading jazz group of the time –
The Jazz Warriors. This band was (and, indeed, is, in its current
form of Tomorrow’s Warriors) a hotbed of young talent from
the UK jazz scene. Kofi was also vital part of Gary Crosby’s
Nu Troop; this was a big stepping stone for his solo and ensemble
work, contributing massively to his own solo projects and educational
The 2006 release, is a true music lovers album
in which you get to hear the blues, gospel, jazz, funk, Latin, African,
be- bop and beyond. It will take you on a historical journey, a
journey of his own life experience, “Future Passed.”
In 2006 Kofi got a call from saxophone Jazz legend David Murray
asking him to join the historic avant-guard jazz ensemble the World
Saxophone Quartet which formed in 1977, this is a milestone in British
jazz, Kofi is the first UK born musician to join the all American
group since the passing of the late Saxophonist Julius Hemphill.
More recently Kofi has been working with the Harry
Connick JR big band performing on the Michael Parkinson show, The
Paul O'Grady show and a live BBC jazz line up recording. Kofi also
performed on the Parkinson show with music legend Joe Cocker, and
a committed member of the Courtney Pine’s Jazz Warriors. More
recently Kofi and his quartet revisited the Thelonious Monk songbook
and performed all 70 of his works at the 2007 London jazz festival
and received a standing ovation for their six-hour performance.
Tony Kofi is still committed to this ethos, regularly
running his own workshops and giving individual lessons. Throughout
the nineties Kofi was busy, appearing in the front line of innumerable
high-profile musicians and groups, including Billy Higgins, Byron
Wallen’s Indigo, Claude Deppa’s A.J.E. & Horns Unlimited,
Cheikh Tidiane Fall Quintet, Clifford Jarvis, Courtney Pine, Digable
Planets, Donald Byrd, Dr Lonnie Smith, Eddie Henderson, Gary Crosby'’
Nu-Troop, Julian Joseph Big Band, Jazz Jamaica All Stars, The David
Murray Big Band, US-3, Tim Richards’ Great Spirit, The Grand
Union orchestra, and Lucky Ranku’s African jazz all stars,
as well as composing original music for his Ten piece group, the
Afro Jazz family.
The Tony Kofi Quartet is dedicated to bringing the music and genius
of the 20th century jazz composer, Thelonious Sphere Monk, performing
his complete works to new audiences in celebration of his unique
improvisational spirit and formidable creative output.
Since 2000, Tony Kofi, Jonathan Gee, Ben Hazleton
and Winston Clifford have been building their repertoire of Monk’s
compositions, all 70 of which were performed in a groundbreaking,
marathon six-hour concert at the 2003 and 2007 London Jazz Festival.
The Quartet's 2004 album, “All Is Know” (Specific Jazz
SPEC001), features a selection of Monk originals with additional
string arrangements by composer Philip Clark.
Between 2003-2004 Kofi was an integral part of the late Andrew Hill’s
Anglo- American Big band and Sam Rivers Rivbea Orchestra.
The Tony Kofi Trio +1 is yet another project of original compositions
by the double award winning Saxophonist / Composer, which features
Byron Wallen, (Trumpet), Anders Olinder (B3 Hammond Organ) and Winston
Clifford, (Drums). The group also augments into a six piece as heard
on their 2006 album titled “Future Passed” (Specific
Jazz SPEC004), also featuring Robert Fordjour (Drums) Cameron Pierre
(Guitar) and Donald Gamble (Percussion).
2010: Tony Kofi returned from New York after recording
an album with Jamaaladeen Tacuma and the father of the modern free
jazz movement Ornette Coleman.
Education is central to my current activity, currently
teaching at St. Andrews roman catholic school in Streatham (KS 1,2,3,4)
and also working with EBD (CHILDREN WITH EMOTIONAL AND BEHAVIORAL
DISORDERS ) ages 5-16 years old in the Surrey area. (St. Nicolas
School & The Fordway centre) My aim is to communicate the beauty
of music to children and older students – to inspire them
to develop their own creativity through the process of composing
and performing. Emphasis will be placed on attentive listening and
creative expression where students will have the opportunity to
develop as individual soloist and in a group environment.
Furthermore, musical traditions from other parts of the world such
as South America, Africa, India and Jazz, Blues and pop music will
be introduced. This will provide a wide range of musical experiences
and references for the children, enabling them to learn about another
musical cultures, and providing them with the opportunity to experience
different aesthetic experiences. This will complement their studies
of European classical music which will also be taught. The children
will be introduced to a variety of teaching methods that incorporate
the traditional teaching perspectives of the culture. The importance
of rhythm, form, melody and practice will also be explored. As we
start our exploration in music we begin by looking at similarities,
much like having a conversation with someone you have just met.
The aim is to have fun with music and to play it or sing it. The
beat of our hearts, the rhythm of tube train sounds, even the sound
of someone eating cornflakes.
This is disorganised sound that we would not necessarily
call music, but these sounds could be the basis of musical masterpieces
when organised by a creative mind. The children will be challenged
to develop the techniques involved for musical organisation, and
develop improvisational and compositional skills.
The workshops will be developed to start very simply with fundamentals.
They will then incorporate more complex teaching material and techniques
including ways to practice, skills in writing musical notation by
hand and working with computer notation programs like Sibelius.
Where possible the use of video footage of musical performances,
making of instruments and other relevant information will be used
as well as slide projections and audio recordings to provide a more
complete picture of relevant material.