Tony Allen’s heart has stopped beating

Pro­ba­bly one of the grea­test musi­cians in the world has pas­sed away. Tony Allen, who crea­ted the par­ti­cu­lar groove of afro­beat along­side Fela Kuti, died in Paris, this Thurs­day, April the 30th, fol­lo­wing a malaise unre­la­ted to the coro­na­vi­rus.

After being the drum­mer and conduc­tor for Afri­ca 70, Fela Kuti’s band, Tony Allen has wor­ked with a myriad of musi­cians brin­ging his inimi­table style com­pa­tible with an infi­ni­ty of genres. The fun­ky jazz soul of Toy Ayers, the elec­tro of Jeff Mil­ls, the sophis­ti­ca­ted pop of Damon Albarn, the afro­beat revi­val of Anti­ba­las, the solar songs of Salif Kei­ta or Oumou San­ga­ré, or the french songs of Sébas­tien Tel­lier and Char­lotte Gains­bourg, all have embra­ced his unique and reco­gni­zable strike.

Having signed many warm­ly recom­men­ded albums, Tony Allen had just issued Rejoice, a col­la­bo­ra­tion with Hugh Mas­se­ke­la, which was fina­li­zed after the death, in 2018, of the South Afri­can trumpeter.

Less than a month ago, Tony Allen had offe­red to the #Aux­Sons rea­ders the Play­list of his favo­rite songs of the moment.

Brian Eno said of Tony Allen that he was « Pro­ba­bly the grea­test drum­mer to have ever exis­ted » and it is true that rare­ly any drum­mer has left such an inde­lible stamp.

© pho­to : Ber­nard Benant

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