Alina Bzhezhinska and Tony Kofi - Altera Vita
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‘Altera Vita’ is the first studio album by World renowned multi-award winning artists Tony Kofi (tenor saxophone) and Alina Bzhezhinska (harp) as a duo. The album is saxophone and harp in perfect harmony with Tony and Alina also providing the bulk of the percussion to accompany their recordings. Tony Kofi is widely recognized as one of the leading Jazz saxophonists in the UK and his duties include regularly lending his skills to legendary group Cymande for their live performances. Alina has been heralded as the “New Sound of Europe” and the duo’s innovative and refreshing approach to recording is apparent on this album. The namesake and inspiration for this album; ‘Altera Vita’ (2023) was named in Downbeat’s jazz albums of 2023, which is very rare for a single release!
‘Altera Vita’ mirrors the human experience, from conception through to the inevitable end or new beginning. Throughout the journey the appreciation of our environments is paramount, ‘Altera Vita’ guides us through an intensified refocus on our senses through the medium of sound.
This homage to the ethereal is dedicated to the influential Pharoah Sanders —a lynchpin in the creative and personal lives of Tony & Alina. Sharing a platform during the 2017 EFG London Jazz Festival at the Barbican in a concert honouring Alice & John Coltrane, Pharoah’s influence was profound. Riding the wave of inspiration following Pharoah’s passing, Tony channeled his gratitude into the creation of ‘Altera Vita (for Pharoah Sanders)’ (single). With Alina’s harmonious harp in counterpoint, a serene musical dialogue was born, echoing the grandeur of Pharoah’s legacy. This track released in 2023 to critical acclaim was a major catalyst for the creation of ‘Altera Vita’ as an album.
‘Altera Vita’, the album, is a spontaneous response to a world in dire need for a reset. In a reality where billions find themselves hostage to the ‘doom-scroll’, where topics are disproportionately centred on the darker shades of our existence, and where our attempts to foster connection have only yielded deeper factionalism, ‘Altera Vita’ surfaces as an aural oasis. An audioscape that personifies tranquility, spirituality and peace — abstract concepts essential to the restructuring of our collective consciousness. ‘Altera Vita’ was designed by Tony & Alina to provide the listener with an opportunity to sit still and be aware.
The heart of ‘Altera Vita’ took shape during a busy summer schedule over the span of two electrifying days at Fish Factory Studios, London, The synergy between Tony & Alina underpinned these rapid-fire recording sessions. The ebbs and flows, the improvisational dance of saxophone and harp intermingled with the percussive beats also from the pair, with the phenomenal Muriel Grossmann contributing tanpura from her Ibiza base – all demonstrated the effortless energy harvest of a creative partnership seasoned over years of performance and practice. Their achievement is a testament to music as our communal solace and our binder.
Encapsulating the interplay of West African and Eastern European sonic traditions, notably expressed through jazz, Tony Kofi and Alina Bzhezhinska become symbols of our shared human fabric —a powerful reminder that our commonalities vastly overshadow our differences.
Format: 1LP, CD, digital
Release Date: April 5th, 2024