An appreciation of drummer Tony Allen’s influential music catalog

Tony Allen. Photo by Bernard Benant.

Tony Allen was one of the most influential drummers of the 20th century. Held in high regard alongside musicians like Art Blakey (his personal hero) and Clyde Stubblefield, to name a few. Tony Allen birthed the Afrobeat sound alongside Fela Kuti in the late 60s and throughout the 70s. As Fela Kuti famously put it, "Without Tony Allen there is no Afrobeat."

For this tribute, I am sharing some of my favorite tracks of his. You’ll hear sounds from his extensive solo catalog, his work with Fela Kuti, and also work from the early 2000s, when he was living and producing music in Paris.

The set starts with his latest release, Rejoice featuring Hugh Masekela, which came out this past March. I also dive into his Blue Note France material from a couple years ago and straight into his classic Afrobeat sounds from the early 70s.

Enjoy the tribute and thanks for listening.