Tony Allen “Jazz Is Dead 18” Jazz Is Dead

September 2023 | MUSIC, 23/09

The eighteenth release from the Jazz Is Dead label is dedicated to Tony Allen. This Nigerian drummer was one of the artists behind Afrobeat. His influence on African music, but also on all those who work with rhythm, is considerable. His discography is plethoric, notably with his musical alter ego Fela Kuti, and his career as a leader is not to be outdone. His work with artists as varied as Sebastien Tellier, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Damon Albarn has taken him into many different styles. Some consider him the best drummer in the world. The sessions for this album were recorded in 2018, two years before his death. It is therefore possible to listen to this album with a certain emotion. Yet there’s no room for contemplation in these 27 minutes of music. It’s all pulse and groove, funk and Afrobeat, relentless and driving. I don’t know if jazz is dead, but Tony Allen proves that true talent doesn’t suffer from the passing years.