Album Review: An Adventurous Dream


Andy Robson, April 2024


It's fascinating to compare this powerful collaboration, and it is a real double header with Kofi and Shaw sharing credits, with Dave Douglas' Gifts. Douglas likewise visits Ellington material with a special focus on Strayhorn songs. But he consciously eschews saxophone on the Strayhorn material. In contrast, Kofi and Shaw celebrate the vibrant relationship between Johnny Hodges' alto, Strayhorn's material and the elusive magus who brought them together, Duke Ellington.

Kofi is an assured stylist: his Another Kind of Soul was a brilliant evocation of altoist Cannonball Adderley while his immersion in Strayhorn goes back to 2010 and Strayhorn the Songwriter with Alex Webb. As well as singing along with Shaw (&ldquol;it is like having two singers on stage,” notes Ian) whether on an ebullient Mood Indigo or merging deliciously into Barry Green's to die for piano intro to Day Dream, Kofi also has two solo features of his own.

On Isfahan Kofi's sensual edge stills the clatter of knife on china that is implicit to a live at the Pizza Express recording. As for Blood Count, a composition too deep for tears that even Shaw is rendered silent by, Kofi's sense of loss is countered by his urgent will to live.