Portrait Of Cannonball Adderley: Award-Winning Saxophonist Tony Kofi Readies “Another Kind Of Soul” For April 24th Release


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The kind of ensemble groove that seems like hard-bop heaven.
Tony Kofi
BBC and Parliamentary Jazz Awards winner Tony Kofi will release Another Kind of Soul 24th April on The Last Music Company label. The album, recorded live at Luton’s Bear Club in 2019 by Paul Riley, also features Andy Davies on trumpet, pianist Alex Webb, bassist Andrew Cleyndert and Alfonso Vitale on drums. The session traces the explosive music of Cannonball Adderley from his first sessions as leader in the mid-1950s through his work with Miles Davis to the soul-jazz of the 1960s. The album is available in limited edition vinyl—the medium of Adderley’s era—to best replicate the ambience of this remarkable live recording. It will also be released in digital formats.

Kofi cites the work of Adderley as an early inspiration. “The first recording I ever heard of Cannonball’s was of the Quintet with the opening track “Arriving Soon.” It opens with his lone saxophone. I was 17 and from that moment on, I was hypnotised as if the pied piper had called out to me. I swore that before I got a good technique on the saxophone, I would first acquire a voice that people could recognise and relate to. Cannonball’s sound is like a human voice. He had his own personal sound, which is like finding the rarest diamond that only belongs to you. His sense of rhythm was a revelation,” says Tony Kofi of the jazz giant.

The setlist includes Adderley brothers classics like “Things Are Getting Better,” “Work Song,” “Sack O’Woe,” and boasts two originals. “A Portrait of Cannonball” explores Adderley’s breadth of style and was composed for the project by Alex Webb. “Operation Breadbasket” is a Kofi composition which pays tribute to Cannonball’s support of young Jazz musicians.

“Selecting the material was a really 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. He continues, “…the great thing about recording live is it gives you a real edge to perform and record—it’s a wonderful feeling, when you connect with the audience, and they with you. A lot of the solos I played were inspired by this connection.”

Kofi will tour in support of the album, tour dates at press time are being rescheduled.

About the Project

Julian Cannonball Adderley was one of the best-loved figures in post-war jazz. Hailed as “the new Bird’"" on his emergence, he made historic recordings with Miles Davis and John Coltrane as well as having many crossover hits as a pioneer of soul-jazz. Born Julian Edwin Adderley in Tampa, Florida, on September 15th 1928, he attended the US Navy School of Music before moving to New York City in the 1950s. Spanning bebop to jazz-funk, he was a unfailingly inventive and communicative virtuoso. He died on August 8, 1975; 2020 would have been his 92nd year.

Tony Kofi won the Best Instrumentalist Award at the 2008 BBC Jazz Awards, Best Ensemble at the 2005 Parliamentary Jazz Awards, Album of the Year at the 2005 BBC Jazz Awards and was nominated for an award MOBO in 2008. Born in Nottingham to West African parents, Tony spent a four-year period at Berklee College of Music in Boston, USA, on a scholarship music diploma. Since then, he has performed with the World Saxophone Quartet, Clifford Jarvis, Courtney Pine, Donald Byrd, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Eddie Henderson and many others. Between 2003 and 2004, Tony was an integral part of the Anglo-American Big Band of Andrew Hill and the Sam Rivers' Rivbea All-Star Orchestra; he has also recorded with Jamaaladeen Tacuma and Ornette Coleman, as well as with his own bands. Kofi’s previous release—POINT BLANK—a 2018 collaboration with The Organization, garnered a five-star review in BBC Music Magazine among other raves. The Guardian has described his improvisational skill as having “…an arrestingly raw power…”

Andy Davies comes from Swansea in South Wales. Now based in London, he regularly performs at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club and often hosts Ronnie Scott's Late Night Jam Session. He leads the Andy Davies Quartet which is a showcase for his composing, and has done pop session work with artists such as Will Young and McFly. He has appeared on television shows The Paul O’Grady Show and the Michael Parkinson Show. Andy is also an accomplished session musician whose trumpet playing has featured on the BBC1 programme Stephen Fry in America.

Alex Webb is a songwriter, arranger and pianist; his songs have been recorded by jazz singers China Moses, Mina Agossi, Sandra Nkaké, Liane Carroll, Allan Harris, and Alexander Stewart, among others. He has created a number of 'words-and-music' productions, including 'Lush Life' (about composer / arranger Billy Strayhorn), 'Charlie Parker on Dial' and 'Cafe Society Swing'. 'Cafe Society Swing' has enjoyed two theatre runs in London and one in New York, where it starred Charenee Wade, Allan Harris and Cyrille Aimee and received a New York Times 'Critic's Pick'. He recently created a musical about Lena Horne, 'Stormy' written with actress Camilla Beeput. His latest album with singer David McAlmont, ‘The Last Bohemians’ was released in November 2019.

Alfonso Vitale was born in 1991 in Messina, Italy. He started playing the drums at the age of three and became a regular fixture at local jazz club ‘La Sosta’, sitting in with visiting veteran stars like Bobby Watson, Kenny Barron, Buster Williams, Steve Swallow and others. In 2013 he graduated from the Conservatoire A. Corelli with a degree in classical percussion. Soon after moving to the UK, he became a regular sideman with tenor saxophonist Renato DAiello at Ronnie Scott's Acoustic Jazz Lounge and found a comfortable footing on the London scene. More recently Alfonso returned from a three months sabbatical in the Big Apple, New York City, honing and extending his skills as an exponent of his stylistic passion in the style of the old jazz masters.

Andrew Cleyndert began playing bass while still at school and, on leaving in 1981, immediately embarked on a musical career backing jazzmen such as Peter King and Art Farmer as house bassist in a jazz club in Manchester. On moving to London he began playing with Bobby Wellins and the Don Weller/Bryan Spring Quartet, Clark Tracey and Iain Ballamy and quickly established himself on the jazz scene as well as touring with such US visitors as Bobby Watson, Bud Shank, Red Rodney, Charlie Rouse, Benny Green, Junior Mance, and the European quartet of Gene Harris. In the noughties he started his own record label promoting musicians such as Stan Tracey, Junior Mance, Bobby Wellins, Peter King, and Don Weller; and to date has released almost 50 albums as well as producing countless others. He was also a member of the Ronnie Scott Sextet / Quartet for a number of years, and was a long-standing bassist for the much-missed Stan Tracey.

This story appears courtesy of The Last Music Company.
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