October 2, 2014

Tony Allen | Film Of Life

ARTIST: Tony Allen
TITLE: Film Of Life
LABEL: Jazz Village
Here’s the latest solo album from Tony Allen, the man who helped invent Afrobeat as drummer in Fela Kuti’s Africa 70 and successors, the man Brian Eno calls “perhaps the greatest drummer who has ever lived." At age 74, Allen continues to make original, vital and essential music. Track 1 is a vintage example of Allen’s predominant post-Fela sound: midtempo small combo Afrobeat with Allen’s sinuous drumming out front of the mix, this time with Allen’s vocal offering a retrospective on his career. 9 starts out in a similar bag, adds a repeated theme that sounds as if it could be a sample (it isn’t), then slides into a tasty vibraphone solo. Allen seems to fully enjoy working with singers of all kinds; three of the best tracks here fall into that category. 8 is a funk-influenced vamp with a star vocal turn by Nigerian female song-and-dance troupe Adunni & Nefretiti; 10 is a slow, trippy number featuring Nigerian-American singer-songwriter Kuku. And 7 is a collaboration with Damon Albarn (Allen is part of Albarn’s The Good, The Bad & The Queen and Rocket Juice & The Moon projects), a beautiful neo-Philly soul song about Africa’ Lampedusa refugees. He’s still got it.
TOP TRACKS:    1    7    8    9    10
ALSO RECOMMENDED:    2    4    5    6

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