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Jazz - Released May 7, 2021 | Blue Note Records

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Tony Allen arguably had the most eclectic CV out of anyone in the world of contemporary music. The tireless explorer Tony Allen started his career with Fela Kuti, and has collaborated with artists as diverse as Jean-Louis Aubert, Jeff Mills, Ray Lema, Sébastien Tellier, Manu Dibango, Damon Albarn and Charlotte Gainsbourg. His final foray, before his death on 30 April 2020 was into the world of hip-hop. With producer Vincent Taeger aka Tiger Tigre, he began improvising on drums while listening to American rap classics. Soon, he felt compelled to make beats for rappers. And as Tony Allen was never one to cling to past glories, he went in for freshness and inspiration, and gathered together a cast of new voices who had something to say.Tony Allen was never able to complete this project. But he was able to record all his drum parts, and Vincent Taeger finished the work off brilliantly: the result was that this record saw the light of day exactly one year after the Nigerian musician passed away. This record has the feel of a real producer's album, with a very laid-back 90s vibe on the opening tracks featuring Sampa the Great and Lord Jah-Monte Ogbon. Tony Allen works musical wonders, creating a hypermodern, avant-garde sound. On Mau Mau, almost all the melody comes from the drums, while Kenyan rapper Nah Eeto lets fly with a cool, soul-tinged flow. From soul, we move on to funk, with Zelooperz and Koreatown Oddity, a Los Angeles rapper signed to Stones Throw, performing on Rich Black. After that, Hurt Your Soul (feat Nate Bone) takes us back to New York and the Def Jux label. The album ends with two masterpieces: My Own, with a jazzy beat, funky guitar and unstinting flow from the American duo Marlowe; and Cosmosis, a great track that mixes afro, pop and cosmic sounds, with Ben Okri and Skepta on the microphone, Damon Albarn on bass and keyboard and Remi Kabaka, his colleague from Gorillaz, handling percussion. This was the only track on the album which was recorded as an ensemble piece: it was one of Tony Allen's final jams. © Smaël Bouaici/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released May 19, 2017 | Universal Music Division Decca Records France

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Jazz - Released September 8, 2017 | Blue Note Records

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A great drummer for a great label. 77 years ago, Tony Allen signed with Blue Note for his first record. But if the boundaries of the blues brand established in 1939 by Alfred Lion and Max Margulis are very clear, Allen, for his part has established a most unique playing style, taking on jazz and rhythm'n'blues and African music. The drummer who invented afrobeat has his own distinctive touch, a very personal style (the articulation/disarticulation of elements in his drum kit, his focus on the hi-hat and the ride cymbal allowing him to hit out at the other drums), which comes from his African and Nigerian sources, as well as rhythmic boppers like Kenny Clarke, Max Roach and Art Blakey. They, too, could each have signed his statement: "When I play, it's like an orchestra in itself; I try to make my playing orchestral". The twelfth work in his discography, The Source takes us, as the name suggests, to the source of Tony Allen's musical art, which is to say the Nigeria of the second half of the 20th Century, to set out on an internal journey, both musical and spiritual, between Africa and America. He calls on Yann Jankielewicz, to co-write and handle the arrangements, with whom he has been working since 2009's Secret Agent. The eleven titles are also the fruit of a work that started when the two men started listening to and swapping certain records. Records by Lester Bowie, Charles Mingus, Art Blakey or Gil Evans serve as a compass... Around Tony have gathered artists like trombonist Daniel Zimmermann, saxophonist Rémi Sciuto, double-bassist Mathias Allamane or keyboard player Vincent Taurelle and Cameroonian guitarist Indy Dibongue. As the cherry on the cake, Damon Albarn from Blur is also on the keyboards on Cool Cats... All these great artists take their cues from the master as he obsessively weaves his tapestry of jazz and afrobeat This is a no-man's-land like no other. Here, and no-where else, Tony Allen deploys tasty melodies and daring improvisations which are all his own. © MD/Qobuz
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Afrobeat - Released March 4, 1979 | Comet

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
In 2002, Evolver released No Accommodation for Lagos/No Discrimination, which contained two albums -- No Accommodation for Lagos (1978, originally released on P-Vine) and No Discrimination (1980, also originally released on P-Vine) -- by Tony Allen on one compact disc. © Tim Sendra /TiVo
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World - Released May 29, 2020 | Comet Records

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World - Released May 29, 2009 | Comet Records

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Jazz - Released October 20, 2014 | Universal Music Division Decca Records France

Tony Allen, Fela Kuti's drumming counterpart in the creation of Afrobeat, has been quite active in the 21st century, recording with Charlotte Gainsbourg, Zap Mama, and in supergroups the Good, the Bad & the Queen and Rocket Juice & the Moon. That said, the last releases under his own name were 2006's Secret Agent and 2007's collaboration with Jimi Tenor on the fourth volume of Strut's Inspiration Information series. Film of Life was recorded in France with the Jazzbastards playing and producing, and a slew of guests contributing to its musical mix. It can be heard both as a portrait of Allen's career as Afrobeat's bannerman rhythmnatist or -- perhaps more accurately -- the soundtrack to his own musical innovation and evolution through it. Either way it's a stone killer. The opener "Moving On" is funky Afrobeat, complete with slippery, percussive guitar vamps, fat brassy horns, a trance-like bassline, and Allen's signature, hi-hat/tom-tom combination, sparked by his skittering circular snare. His vocal -- backed by Audrey Gbaguidi in choral response style -- tells his story through his album titles. This would be a gimmick from a lesser musician, but for Allen it's a volley of truth, pure and simple. Damon Albarn (his bandmate in the aforementioned units) is lead vocalist on the set's first single, the break-heavy "Go Back." The tune stretches the musical and textural boundaries of modern pop and retro-Philly soul as they encounter African rhythms. Ludovic Bruni's tightly wound bassline interacts with Allen's cracking kit in lockstep grooves. The meld of Afro-funk and Far Eastern pop use B-movie tropes. Wah-wah guitars, fuzzed-out basslines, and a cheesy synth melody submit to Allen's crisp drumming in the role of storyteller, altering their shape and nuance. "Koko Dance" moves in another direction. Blaxploitation's extreme funkiness is filtered through spaghetti western guitars and the organ-driven vamps of Afrobeat. Taken together, these tunes subvert the trappings of their predecessors and make '70s Hollywood a racist caricature of itself. American-born Nigerian singer Kuku makes one of two exceptional vocal appearances here (the second is on the brilliant closer "Tony Wood"). As the horns punctuate the choruses, the use of Auto-Tune and dubwise reverb twists everything into perverse, snaky directions. "Ire Omo," with fierce vocals by female vocal ensemble Adunni & Nefertiti, refracts Afrobeat through the source of its original inspiration: James Brown. Its cutting horn lines, wonky clavinet, and Allen's kinetic kitwork make this jammer irresistible. The ticking hi-hat on "African Mind" introduces the set's most ferocious track. The spirited dialogues between horns, guitars, fractious bass, vibraphone, hard snap breaks, and circular rhythms goes completely over the top. Fans may not have realize it initially, but Film of Life provides us with what we've missed sorely: Allen as Allen. Here, the master drummer has used his entire musical history to create a sound that is vital, urgent, powerful, and sexy as hell. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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World - Released May 29, 2009 | Comet Records

Black Voices is Afro-beat drum groove originator Tony Allen's return to action after leaving Nigeria, settling in Paris in 1985, and dropping off the map as far as making records goes. It's a remix project of tracks from singles more than an LP per se, a largely two-person affair with Allen manning the drums and keyboards and Doctor L supplying the modern dub mixology. While it's hard to imagine a minimalist or trip-hop take on a sound as big-band maximalist as Afro-beat and related rhythm forms, that's pretty much what these two have come up with here. "Asiko" is an effective opener with updated Fela electric piano lines -- Allen's drums are the lead instrument and central to mix with the melodic shards darting in and out around the rhythms. "Get Together" is alternately sunny and weird with nice closing horns, and "Black Voices (We Are What We Play Mix)" is minimalist dub Afro-beat with a bass spine blended to spooky keyboard burbles, stabbing clavinet explosions, and whispered head-trip lyrics. Those misterioso internal musings sorta recall some Lee Perry dub or Tricky trip-hop. The fragmentary "The Same Blood" (is that a sample from Allen's "Discrimination" in there?) ebbs and flows around a single guitar riff for too long and the minimal drums, voice, and occasional percussion of "Asiko (In a Silent Mix)" isn't worth nine and a half minutes. The original mix of "Black Voices" is too low-key to sustain interest, but the fuller "Ariya (Psychejujumix)" does, with Allen's drums complemented by guitar, bass, and vocal chants. Black Voices was obviously designed to connect Allen with the international electronica dancefloor crew, and it works fairly well on that level. But it also sounds like a strong EP -- "Asiko," "Black Voices (We Are What We Play Mix)," "Ariya (Psychejujumix)," and "Get Together" -- padded with filler to make it a 50-minute, full-list-price CD. Since those four songs are now available in some form on Allen's solo career best-of Eager Hands and Restless Feet, Black Voices is a long way from essential. © Don Snowden /TiVo
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Afrobeat - Released January 1, 1985 | Comet Records

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Jazz - Released April 9, 2021 | Universal Music Division Decca Records France

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Jazz - Released March 12, 2021 | Universal Music Division Decca Records France

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Electronic - Released October 15, 2012 | Comet Records

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Jazz - Released May 7, 2021 | Blue Note Records

Tony Allen arguably had the most eclectic CV out of anyone in the world of contemporary music. The tireless explorer Tony Allen started his career with Fela Kuti, and has collaborated with artists as diverse as Jean-Louis Aubert, Jeff Mills, Ray Lema, Sébastien Tellier, Manu Dibango, Damon Albarn and Charlotte Gainsbourg. His final foray, before his death on 30 April 2020 was into the world of hip-hop. With producer Vincent Taeger aka Tiger Tigre, he began improvising on drums while listening to American rap classics. Soon, he felt compelled to make beats for rappers. And as Tony Allen was never one to cling to past glories, he went in for freshness and inspiration, and gathered together a cast of new voices who had something to say.Tony Allen was never able to complete this project. But he was able to record all his drum parts, and Vincent Taeger finished the work off brilliantly: the result was that this record saw the light of day exactly one year after the Nigerian musician passed away. This record has the feel of a real producer's album, with a very laid-back 90s vibe on the opening tracks featuring Sampa the Great and Lord Jah-Monte Ogbon. Tony Allen works musical wonders, creating a hypermodern, avant-garde sound. On Mau Mau, almost all the melody comes from the drums, while Kenyan rapper Nah Eeto lets fly with a cool, soul-tinged flow. From soul, we move on to funk, with Zelooperz and Koreatown Oddity, a Los Angeles rapper signed to Stones Throw, performing on Rich Black. After that, Hurt Your Soul (feat Nate Bone) takes us back to New York and the Def Jux label. The album ends with two masterpieces: My Own, with a jazzy beat, funky guitar and unstinting flow from the American duo Marlowe; and Cosmosis, a great track that mixes afro, pop and cosmic sounds, with Ben Okri and Skepta on the microphone, Damon Albarn on bass and keyboard and Remi Kabaka, his colleague from Gorillaz, handling percussion. This was the only track on the album which was recorded as an ensemble piece: it was one of Tony Allen's final jams. © Smaël Bouaici/Qobuz
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Africa - Released June 8, 2009 | World Circuit

It's no surprise that Tony Allen's new album does nothing to dim his reputation as one of the world's greatest drummers. He's the personification of subtlety, leading from the back and carefully pushing and prodding the music, but doing this so cleverly that half the time people don't even notice he's there. He's certainly a man whose four limbs operate independently, setting up cross- and counter-rhythms that add extra levels of texture and complexity to the music. On Secret Agent, recorded in his native Lagos, he's joined by a number of guests (including five different vocalists), but the core musicians working with him are producer Fixi, who contributes several instruments, and Cameroonian guitarist Claude Dibongue, who works well in this framework. It's largely Afrocentric, and definitely political, in the best tradition of Allen's late employer, Fela Kuti. Allen himself contributes vocals to the opening and closing tracks, showing he's more than a drummer, even if his voice is low-key. That he plays so well is remarkable. That he does it like this when he's almost 70 is amazing. © Chris Nickson /TiVo
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Africa - Released June 19, 2009 | Honest Jon's Records

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Jazz - Released January 22, 2020 | World Circuit

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Jazz - Released February 26, 2020 | World Circuit

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Jazz - Released March 17, 2020 | World Circuit

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Alternative & Indie - Released May 2, 2020 | Parlophone UK

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R&B - Released October 24, 2013 | Comet Records

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Tony Allen in the magazine