Tony Allen: A Retrospective review – sprawling tribute gets the crowd on its feet

Damon Albarn

Groupe / Damon Albarn 107 Views comments

Royal Pageant Corridor, London
At virtually three hours, Damon Albarn, Femi Koleoso, Ben Okri and co still struggled to encapsulate the complete gamut of Allen’s creativity

In the 18 months since pioneering Afrobeat drummer Tony Allen died, the extent of his legacy has turn out to be increasingly apparent. Posthumous releases of outstanding new materials continue to pour forth – from the audio-stitched hip-hop features of There Is No Finish, to the The Answer Is Restless with Joan As Police Lady and Dave Okumu.

Nowhere is the range of Allen’s affect more apparent than in Tony Allen: A Retrospective, his musical tribute happening as part of the 2021 EFG London Jazz Festival. Curated by longtime collaborator Damon Albarn, drummer Femi Koleoso, writer Ben Okri and Gorillaz bandmember Remi Kabaka, the lineup is likely one of the most in depth on the pageant’s roster, that includes everybody from Finnish multi-instrumentalist Jimi Tenor to composer Nitin Sawhney, vocalist Wayne Snow, and Fela Kuti collaborator Dele Sosimi.

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