On album opener "Ebun", guitars and horns build off of Allen's instantly recognizable drum patterns, stretching and warping time signatures as they cross paths. It instantly recalls the seminal Africa 70 recordings which Allen was a driving force on. Psychedelic keyboards and percussion clash on "Steady Tremble", a heavy stomper tailor-made for dancefloors in every corner of the world. Just as funky is the kinetic and expressive "Oladipo". Built between a tense call and response between the horns, the track is filled with drama, and Allen steadily keeps each element in balance. As soon as the flute struts in alongside fiery horns and guitar on "Don't Believe the Dancers", the groove plunges further, propelled by an acerbic saxophone solo that animates Allen's percussion. "Makoko" is a moody, mid-tempo jam that evokes classic Fela Kuti recordings such as "Open & Close" and "Gentleman", slowly constructing an elaborate orchestra of polyrhythm, all keeping step with Allen's rhythm. "Lagos" points towards the spiritual and literal home of Allen and Afrobeat, the capital of Nigeria, and homes in on a yearning keyboard.
Similar to on his excellent Art Blakey tribute record, Tony Allen is a revelatory jazz drummer, as heard on "No Beginning", a mid-tempo tune that sits at the nexus of Spiritual Jazz and Afrobeat, which perfectly transitions into album closer, the aptly titled "No End", a poignant number that combines all of the passion and precision of the previous tracks, and let's Allen guide listeners yet again as only he so effortlessly could.
Despite the finite time that Allen had on this planet, as do all of us, his contributions to music are timeless and untouchable, and will continue to inform and inspire generations to come. Jazz Is Dead is honored to have played a part in the legacy of Tony Allen and invites you to discover the unparalleled genius that shifted the entire world's conception of time, a magician who alchemized the past with the future and influenced countless listeners, currently and to come.