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Tony Allen - Film Of Life (CD, Jazz Village, 2014)

Our readers & listeners don't need any introduction to master drummer Tony Allen, inventor of the afrobeat rhythm… The man released last october a new album on a French label, Jazz Village, that landed at Paris DJs HQ last week thanks to Ebo Taylor's saxophonist. Still the amazing drummer he's always been, Tony Allen tries to sum up his career on this record, a quite obvious fact if you listen to the opening funky afrobeat track 'Moving On', on which he tells his story with the names of his albums. He then embarks on an afro-pop-funk-rock-jazz trip showcasing all of his virtuosity in different settings, managing along the way to deliver a rather cohesive long-player. Our Nigerian/American friend Kuku adds some amazing, deep and soulful vocals on 'Koko Dance' and the closing track 'Tony Wood'. Buyers of the 'Deluxe Version' that I believe is only available digitally will get 3 bonus tracks: songstress and incredible performer Sandra Nkaké is brings her burning inner fire to 'Na Bangui', Manu Dibango joins the party on the cheerful 'Mojo', and a very funky 'Insider'. But then again, what's not funky in Tony Allen's playing?

Tony Allen - Film Of Life
Tony Allen - Film Of Life
(CD) Jazz Village, 2014-10-20

Tracklisting :
01. Moving On 6:40
02. Boat Journey 4:46
03. Tiger's Skip 3:51
04. Ewa 4:11
05. Afo KunfFu Beat 6:09
06. Koko Dance 6:38
07. Go Back feat. Damon Albarn 5:37
08. Ire Omo feat. Adunni and Nefretiti 5:06
09. African Man 5:03
10. Tony Wood feat. Kuku 6:04
11. Na Bangui feat. Sandra Nkaké 5:04 *
12. Mojo feat. Manu Dibango 4:33 *
13. Insider 5:06 *
* deluxe version-only bonus tracks

Links :
Tony Allen : official | facebook | parisdjs | twitter | wikipedia | youtube

Press Release :
Film on Life travels back through a rich and exemplary musical life, providing the finishing touch to Allen’s 2013 autobiography. In the retropective "Moving On", his mellow sun-baked vocals recall each of his previous albums in turn as if to prove, if proof were needed, his spirit of endurance and his powers of reinvention. At a time when Afrobeat, like the blues and reggae, is being assimilated into the globalised music scene, Allen wants to be clear who’s the boss, to sound out each of the genre’s nuances. "I’ve always thought of my drums as an orchestra", confides the fresh-faced 70-years old. "I like to create a melody with my drums when i play. I like to make them sing". And no one knows how to make them sing like Tony! At his drum kit, he reminds us of nothing more than a fastidious watchmaker, bending time to his will, not its slave but its master. A paragon of precision, he spreads his groove, maniacally scattering semiquaver rests and electrifying flashes of metal. He caresses, whips and hammers his skins and his cymbals with an intelligence and economy that is quite simply awe-inspiring. No grandstanding. No solos. Tony plays like he breathes, with the grace of the ascetic and the wisdom of sage.



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