Altera Vita

16/04/2024UK Duo Alina Bzhezhinska (harp) & Tony Kofi (tenor sax) Releases Heavenly Spiritual Jazz Collaboration On BBE

There's something undeniably celestial about the harp and this effect is multiplied to the fullest on this heavenly collaborative debut album by the phenomenal harpist Alina Bzhezhinska and tenor sax phenom Tony Kofi. This is not the first time the two UK-based, multiple award-winning artists have joined forces and yet, hearing them in a duo constellation does exude a certain magic. Titled "Altera Vita" ('Another Life'), this collaborative full-length "homage to the ethereal is dedicated to the influential Pharoah Sanders,"  who transitioned back in 2022, yet greatly inspired and even shared a stage with these two musicians at the EFG London Jazz Festival 2017, in a concert honouring Alice & John Coltrane.

"Altera Vita", the album's namesake, was first released early last year as a singular tribute to the late Pharoah Sanders and instantly gained high praise, encouraging the two to further pursue their shared journey and  intensify their musical dialogue. Recorded over the course two days at London's Fish Factory Studios last summer, the powerful synergy between Alina and Tony on these six tracks is evident. No doubt spiritual in approach, "'Altera Vita' mirrors the human experience, from conception through to the inevitable end or new beginning" as much as it 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."

The connecting element here is a musical search for commonality while establishing a space for mindful contemplation or simply being in the present, providing a sonic refuge for weary senses. This safe space is a utopia of sorts, yet one that is at our fingertips and currently in high demand. Call it peace of mind. 

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom