Friday 9 November. 20:00 – 22:30.
At Crookes Social Club
Full £15, Concessions £12, Student with NUS card £8, 15 – 18 year olds £3, Under 15s Free.
Advance tickets available from buy.sivtickets.com/sheffieldjazz at the same net price as on the door.
Tony Kofi: sax; Pete Whittaker: Hammond organ; Simon Fernsby: guitar; Pete Cater: drums
“A killer band with real bite”… Mark Youll, Jazzwise magazine. The award-winning multi-instrumentalist leads his new quartet in a performance of hard-hitting jazz, blues, Latin, hard bop and post-bop including rarely performed classics by the likes of George Russell , Woody Shaw, Duke Pearson, Pepper Adams and others. They visit Sheffield as part of a tour to mark the release of their debut album “Point Blank”.
The origins of the Organisation go back over a decade and grew out of Simon Fernsby’s ‘Manhattan Project’ sessions which were a staple of jazz in South London throughout the 2000s. Drummer Pete Cater was an early recruit and the band went through several incarnations and with the addition of organist Pete Whittaker honed its no-nonsense, hard-hitting style as the house rhythm section in multiple venues, festivals and residencies. Throughout this time they worked with many of London’s leading jazz musicians but in spite of associations with several distinguished players did not become a regular quartet until a serendipitous meeting with saxophonist Tony Kofi in August 2010. This association with Tony was the result of a last minute dep at Kent jazz institution, the Eagle Tavern, with Tony fresh from recording with Ornette Coleman in New York. Playing both alto and baritone on the date there was an instant affinity between the players, the Organisation’s combination of both the Bluesy soul jazz side the Hammond canon, and their knowledge of the more modern post-bop side of the repertoire (as typified by Woody Shaw’s “Moontrane”) working perfectly with Tony’s approach. It is to the credit of all the musicians that they have played a long game, developing their craft and style on the UK jazz circuit and the sounds you will hear are the sounds of a band who have put the hours in and held an ace in their collective hand until the moment to play it was just right.
Tony Kofi (Saxophones)
Winner BBC Jazz Awards 2005 -Album of the Year; Winner BBC Jazz Awards 2008 – Best Instrumentalist; Winner, Best Ensemble, Parliamentary Jazz Awards 2005; Nominee, Mobo Awards 2008; Winner of the Jack Petchey Foundation award 2015; Winner of the Black Achievers award –Cultural, music and arts award 2016
Tony Kofi is a British Jazz multi-instrumentalist born of Ghanaian parents, a player of the Alto, Baritone, Soprano, Tenor saxophones and flute. Having ‘cut his teeth’ in the “Jazz Warriors” of the early 90’s, he has gone on to establish himself as a musician, teacher and composer of real authority. As well as performing and recording with Gary Crosby’s “Nu-Troop” and “Jazz Jamaica”, Tony’s playing has also been a feature of many bands, and the artists he has worked/recorded with include “US-3” The World Saxophone Quartet, Courtney Pine, Donald Byrd, Eddie Henderson, The David Murray Big Band, Sam Rivers Rivbe Big band, Andrew Hill Big Band, Abdullah Ibrahim, Macy Gray, Julian Joseph Big band, Harry Connick JR, Byron Wallen’s Indigo, Jamaaladeen Tacuma’s Coltrane Configurations and Ornette Coleman.
His fluent and fiery hard-bop style makes him constantly in demand. He currently leads his own Tony Kofi Quartet, Tony Kofi Sphinx Trio, Future Passed Trio and is also the co-founder with Jonathan Gee of the Monk Liberation Front, a group that is dedicated to the music of Thelonious Monk. Tony’s latest project sees him performing with Alex Webb’s Café Society Swing, Arnie Somogyi’s Jump Monk, Larry Bartley’s JustUS Quartet, Adrian Reid Quartet, a double leaders project with Alan Barnes called Aggregation, Orphy Robinson’s Bobby Hutcherson songbook project, Alina Bzhezhinska Quartet, Jo Harrop’s Fever, Portrait of Cannonball (music dedicated to Cannonball Adderley) and
Tony Kofi and the Organisation, a recent project which he co-leads on the Baritone Saxophone.
“Passionate… superb… heartfelt” …The Guardian
“There is so much respect in jazz circles for Tony Kofi.”… Jazzwise
Pete Whittaker (Hammond Organ) London-based jazz organist Pete Whittaker became fascinated with the Hammond organ after hearing the classic 1960s jazz recordings by the likes of Jimmy Smith, Richard “Groove” Holmes, and Jack McDuff. After a few years touring the western world with rock bands, Pete has in recent times been involved with several jazz projects including UK saxophonist Theo Travis’ “Double Talk” and guitarist John Etheridge’s “Blue Spirits”. Pete is also regular member of the Nigel Price Organ Trio.
Pete Cater (Drums) ‘A gifted and versatile drummer, at home in any context’ (Rough Guide to Jazz) Pete Cater is a natural self-taught drummer who has been playing since infancy. Although his 30 plus year professional career has encompassed almost the entire musical spectrum, it is his work as a big band drummer and leader that has secured his worldwide reputation. Pete’s big band expertise sees him in regular demand with a variety of large ensembles including the BBC big Band and the Back to Basie Orchestra. In addition Pete has worked with many international jazz stars in small band settings including Arturo Sandoval, Charlie Byrd, Benny Carter, Buddy De Franco, Terry Gibbs, and Al Cohn.
Tony Kofi and The Organisation – Point Blank
(The Last Music Company LMCD2019. CD review by Adrian Pallant)
The sight of Tony Kofi picking up baritone sax never fails to produce a tremor of excitement – and on Point Blank, he and The Organisation fervently explore the post-bop jazz repertoire through ten choice numbers from ten artists/composers, including Wes Montgomery, McCoy Tyner, Henry Mancini and Jimmy Smith.
The Organisation – guitarist Simon Fernsby, organist Pete Whittaker and drummer Peter Cater – began life as a London-based organ trio, over a decade ago; and it was only a fortuitous depping opportunity in 2010 which brought Kofi into the mix (shortly after he had recorded in the US with Ornette Coleman), establishing this fine and peppy quartet line-up.
Indeed, it’s an eager and spirited reading of Duke Pearson’s Minor League which heralds these 55 minutes of feel-good, Kofi’s deeply growled tones combining with Fernsby’s lithe guitar, buoyed by Whittaker’s bass-bouncing organ tremolo and Cater’s cymbal-shimmering drums. Closely-matched chordal timbres from guitar and organ provide an effective exchange and mingling of textures throughout, Pepper Adams’ sprightly Bossallegro showcasing the organ trio as Kofi’s breezy melodies sail across; and his smoother baritone expressions glide over an attractive promenading groove in Dr Lonnie Smith’s LS Blues. The sumptuous orchestral romance of Henry Mancini’s Theme from Mr Lucky is exchanged for joyous swing (those gruff bari resonances so visceral), while one of McCoy Tyner’s richest compositions, Search for Peace, though perhaps less lush here than in piano-supported arrangements, possesses a pleasing jazz-club immediacy.
Guitarists Pat Martino and Wes Montgomery are represented in Cisco and Full House respectively – two confidently bustling, about-town blazers which prompt unbridled soloing – and Kofi’s fluency in the lower register is a delight. Woody Shaw’s Moontrane preens itself in true organ-trio character in the central section, with Whittaker’s pedals obviously mobile below his rippling chords and melodies. Summer in Central Park paints Horace Silver’s tune in warmer, afterglow-evoked atmospheres; and it takes something special to improve on a Jimmy Smith original, yet Ready And Able’s breathless, all-out boisterousness becomes irresistible here.
The nod to classic ‘60s jazz album covers hints at this quartet’s experienced approach. Recorded in a single day’s studio session, Kofi, Fernsby, Whittaker and Cater maintain the tradition’s relevance with impeccable focus – and, most importantly, it’s a darned good listen.