Tony Allen

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

LABELS: Blue Note
WORKS: The Source
PERFORMER: Tony Allen (drums), Matthias Allamane (bass), Indy Dibongue (guitar), Jean-Phi Dary (piano & organ), Yann Janklewicz (soprano sax) et al
CATALOGUE NO: 576 8329


Nigerian-born drummer Tony Allen is already an established fixture in world-music circles and at jazz festivals but his recent Blue Note disc A Tribute to Art Blakey indicated a further move into the jazz realm with his own take on the hard-bop drumming master. In The Source he brings together elements of jazz, blues and his own almost mechanical-sounding African rhythms. While opener ‘Moody Boy’ contains wailing big-band brass, ‘On Fire’ features tight bop-style unison horns and deft piano work from Jean-Phi Dary. Allen keeps a tight rhythmic rein throughout, whether locking down with Allamane’s resonant bass on ‘Wolf Eats Wolf’, whipping up a brooding free jazz-style storm for ‘Ewajo’, or with blasts of catchy horns over stuttering beats for ‘Cool Cats’. All together, it’s an intriguing genre-expanding release, with an impressive mix of jazz and African influences.


Neil McKim