Monk at Town Hall

July 20, 2022

Tony Kofi & NYJO Present: The Thelonious Monk Orchestra at Town Hall


One of the most recorded jazz composers of all time, Thelonious Monk needs no introduction. Making numerous contributions to the standards canon, ‘Straight No Chaser’, ‘Round Midnight’, ‘Blue Monk’, to name a few, it’s hard to overstate Monk’s importance in jazz history.



A formative influence on Bebop, Monk’s unorthodox approach to composition and improvisation with its characteristic dissonances, angular melodic twists, switched key releases, percussive stabs and abrupt, dramatic use of silence remains thrilling for performers and audiences alike. Recording volumes for Blue Note and Columbia Records, his list of collaborators is a who’s who of jazz iconoclasts: Art BlakeyDave BrubeckMiles Davis, Coleman HawkinsCharlie ParkerDizzy GillespieSonny Rollins.

The Thelonious Monk Orchestra at Town Hall is a seminal large ensemble recording, released in 1959. Under the direction of Tony Kofi, NYJO celebrates this powerful work with a stellar dectet of emerging UK talent.

The music of Thelonious Sphere Monk is like a journey into the past, present and future all at the same time.

Tony Kofi


Music Director: Tony Kofi


Multi-instrumentalist, Tony Kofi is a UK Jazz icon. A player of the alto, baritone, soprano, tenor saxophones and flute; the award-winning artist has established himself as a totemic presence in British jazz as a musician, a composer, and educator.

Known for his fluent and fiery hard-bop style, Tony remains one of the most in-demand players in the country. For those unfamiliar, you may have heard Tony’s contributions to a ream of projects alongside, The World Saxophone QuartetCourtney PineDonald ByrdEddie HendersonThe David Murray Big BandSam Rivers Rivbe Big BandAndrew Hill Big BandAbdullah IbrahimMacy GrayJulian Joseph Big BandHarry Connick JRByron Wallen’s IndigoJamaaladeen Tacuma’s Coltrane Configurations and Ornette Coleman.

He currently leads his own bands including the Tony Kofi QuartetTony Kofi Sphinx TrioFuture Passed Trio, and is also the co-founder of the Monk Liberation Front.


You go back to that period, and just that whole thing of putting together a 10-piece band for a live performance by Monk was about as far-out of an idea as you could come up with.

Orrin Keepnews (Producer of the original recordings)



The Band

Tony Kofi, Music Director/Alto Sax | George Garford, Alto Sax | Emma Rawicz, Tenor Sax | Alex Clarke, Bari Sax | Ewan Parkin, Trumpet | Johan Stone, French Horn | James Wade-Sired, Trombone | Hanna Mbuya, Tuba | Matt Jacobs, Piano | Myra Brownbridge, Bass | Cassius Cobbson, Drums



23.09.22 • Jazz Cafe • London

30.09.22 • Wilshire Music Centre • Bradford-on-Avon

08.10.22 • Museum of Making • Derby

26.10.22 • Band On The Wall • Manchester

27.10.22 • Belgrave Music Hall • Leeds

11.11.22 • RWCMD • Cardiff



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NYJO & Tony Kofi: Monk at Town Hall

The Thelonious Monk Orchestra at Town Hall is Monk’s seminal large ensemble recording, released in 1959. Under the direction of Tony Kofi, NYJO celebrates this ground-breaking work.

Quote 1 (Jazzwise)

"NYJO has never been conformist, never hewing to one particular line, never known for fawning replications and very deliberately these days a vehicle for new possibilities."

Jazzwise Magazine

Quote 2 (Lucy-Anne)

“Since joining NYJO, I’m so much more confident as a performer. Especially in terms of being able to entertain and keep the crowd engaged with you. It’s really nice to be able to feel that difference.” 

Lucy-Anne, NYJO Singer

Quote 3 (Academy)

"I’ve felt very fortunate to be surrounded by amazing musicians, and I think that the environment at NYJO – which has fostered creativity and improvisation – has allowed my confidence and musical ideas to grow."

Briony, NYJO Student

Quote 4 (Emma)

"The JX programme has been hugely helpful to me so far, consistently pushing me to explore new areas of composition, playing and collaborating with others, in many different formats."

Emma Rawicz, NYJO Musician

Quote 5 (Sam)

"Giving them space to create whatever they wanted, without setting parameters of idiom or style helped them to conceptualise how they could bring these new concepts into their work without scaring them off, or mystifying the process."

Sam Eastmond, NYJO Educator (Animate project)

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