Tony Kofi is a British Jazz multi-instrumentalist, a player of the alto, baritone and soprano saxophones and flute, and has won two BBC and two Parliamentary Jazz Awards as well as a MOBO award nomination. After studying at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, with such musical luminaries as Andy Magee and Billy Pearce, Tony returned to the UK and became 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. Tony was also a 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 projects. Tony is still committed to this ethos, regularly running his own workshops and giving individual lessons.
Throughout the nineties Tony 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’s 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, and running his own quartet.
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 groundbreaking, marathon six-hour concerts to standing ovations at the 2003 and 2007 London Jazz Festivals. The Quartet’s 2004 album, All Is Know, features a selection of Monk originals with additional string arrangements by composer Philip Clark. Since then Tony has recorded The Silent Truth with his quartet, recorded with bassist Jamaaladeen Tacuma’s Coltrane configurations Quartet with Ornette Coleman, become a member of EKAYA led by South African legendary composer Abdullah Ibrahim, and formed a new trio, Standard Time, with David Chamberlain and Rod Youngs. In 2010 he recorded an album in New York with Jamaalaeen Tacuma and the father of the modern free jazz movement, the late, great Ornette Coleman.