Tony Allen

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About Tony Allen

Nigerian drummer Tony Allen was, alongside Fela Kuti, one of the co-creators of Afrobeat. After spending his early career playing in highlife dance bands, he began a long association with Kuti in 1965. Together they crafted the explosive dance- and improvisation-oriented Afrobeat style. After their partnership ended, Allen successfully led his own bands, weaving Afrobeat into musical genres ranging from jazz, makossa, and hip-hop to R&B and dub on recordings such as 1979's No Discrimination, 1999's Black Voices, and 2017's The Source. During his long career, he collaborated with a wide and diverse cast of musicians including Grace Jones, Oumou Sangaré, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Hugh Masekela, and Damon Albarn in the Good, the Bad & the Queen. Posthumous releases like Allen's 2023's Jazz Is Dead entry JID018 give evidence of his range and influence.

Lagos, Nigeria
August 12, 1940
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