As the co-creator with Fela Kuti of the Afrobeat style that emerged from Nigeria in 1970, drummer and arranger Tony Allen is a deservedly legendary figure in popular music history. However, Allen is very much a figure of the present, as he continues to prove via recordings released under his own name and with the group responsible for The Good, The Bad & The Queen—featuring Allen, Damon Albarn, Paul Simonon, and Simon Tong. Secret Agent was released in Europe in 2009 to considerable acclaim and is now being given a North American release by Nonesuch prior to a string of dates that Allen and his band will undertake on the continent in June of this year.Click to read the full article
This brilliant album showcases Allen’s distinctive drumming style and represents his considerable skills as a producer and arranger. He is accompanied by his touring group, a highly skilled octet whose instrumental palette mixes the expected (heavy bass, high electric guitar, horns) with the more surprising (accordion, Vocoder). Allen has written the music for all the tracks and some of the lyrics. Other lyrics are provided by the various vocalists featured on the album, some of whom double up on backing vocal duties. Vocal call-and-response is utilized fantastically throughout.
Saturday, May 29, 2010
Tony Allen: Secret Agent
Richard Elliott reviews Tony Allen's Secret Agent.