There’s a moment in life when you can recall yourself being given an album and upon the first listen — and the ninth — you’ve realized just how impactful that moment was. That moment for me was when Matt Fleeger, host of “Moodsville” on KMHD, handed me Tony Allen’s most recent contribution before his unfortunate passing in 2020. To say I’m grateful for this album is an understatement. Captivating the world with the beat of his own drum for more than half a century is no easy feat by any means, and when it comes to the 18th rendition of “Jazz Is Dead” featuring Allen, there is no amount of words that can really explain how awesome this album is.
World-renowned and legendary drummer Allen was sure to leave behind one more relic for the world to enjoy! With eight tracks, it is the definition of a seamless album. From start to finish, this album is jam-packed with delicious polyrhythms and a tempo sure to keep your body and mind moving as one.
Spanning the globe in his hefty career in Fela Kuti’s Africa 70 band, and beyond, it was no surprise that the 80-year-old could still keep the tightest of beats in world-class style. This album has only recently been released by Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Adrian Younge, however, it stood no chance in being obsessed over as it’s now on my top 25 most played albums in my library.
These artists truly had a musically challenging conversation throughout this album. The album begins with “Ebun,” a hard-driving kick drum that lets you know that the drums will be setting the pace of your heartbeat, all with good intentions of course. The tone and pacing of the first half of the album is somewhat of a parade or party until we reach the track “Makoko,” sounding oddly sinister in its bassline dragging to the depths with its low tone before the delicious horns of Lagos, Nigeria, bring your emotions right back up to the clouds.