Tony Allen obituary

Damon Albarn

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Masterful drummer and co-creator of Afrobeat, the fusion of funk, jazz and African types that he pioneered with Fela Kuti

On 12 and 13 March there were two live shows in the Church of Sound collection at St James the Great Church in Clapton, east London. They have been staged within the spherical, with both the audience and the small band of brass, keyboards and guitar circled across the star player, arguably the best drummer on the planet.

As ever, Tony Allen seemed cool and relaxed, sporting a hat and darkish glasses, sitting upright with the remainder of his physique hardly shifting as his arms and ft beat out the thrilling, complicated rhythms, or “patterns” as he referred to as them. The music came from his latest album, Rejoice, recorded together with his pal Hugh Masekela, and these have been to be his last exhibits.

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