Tony Allen – RIP

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Un gigante assoluto. Una perdita inestimabile. Perhaps the greatest drummer who has ever lived” (nella parole di Brian Eno). Tony Oladipo Allen è morto a Parigi all’ospedale Pompidou all’età di 79 anni. La notizia è stata diffusa dal manager Eric Trosset: “He was in great shape; it was quite sudden. I spoke to him at 1 PM, then two hours later he was sick and taken to Pompidou hospital where he died”. Il musicista nigeriano ha segnato un’epoca assieme a Fela Kuti, di fatto “creando” e diffondendo l’afrobeat (geniale commistione di funk, jazz e musiche popolari africane come Fuji e Highlife) in tutto il mondo con la griffe Africa ’70 (lanciata sul finire dei ’60). Un sodalizio magico iniziato intorno al 1964 e terminato una quindicina di anni dopo. La discografia solista parte invece con tre lavori prodotti da Kuti pubblicati tra il 1975 e il 1979. Nello stesso anno arriva il primo album (‘No Discrimination’) senza la presenza del leggendario compare a nome Tony Allen and the Afro Messengers. Ai meno “esperti” in materia verrà sdoganato grazie alla tantissime collaborazioni pop ed europee (da Charlotte Gainsbourg agli Air, da Jimi Tenor a Sébastien Tellier), fino a quelle che lo vedono impegnato e legato a Damon Albarn che lo vuole nei mai troppo incensati progetti The Good, The Bad & The Queen e Rocket Juice and The Moon (assieme a Flea). L’ultimo lavoro rimane ‘Rejoice’ (proprio del 2020) album nel quale Allen è al fianco del compianto Hugh Masekela scomparso nel 2018.

Come sempre le parole più “giuste” e toccanti in questi casi arrivano da Flea. Valga per tutti questo splendido ricordo.

“The epic Tony Allen, one of the greatest drummers to ever walk this earth has left us. What a wildman, with a massive, kind and free heart and the deepest one-of-a-kind groove. Fela Kuti did not invent afrobeat, Fela and Tony birthed it together. Without Tony Allen there is NO afrobeat. I was lucky enough to spend many an hour with him, holed up in a London studio, jamming the days away. It was fucking heavenly. He was and still is, my hero. I wanted to honor his greatness so much when we played together, and I was nervous when we started, but he made me laugh like a two year old, and we fell right into pocket. I lit up like a Christmas tree every time I knew we were about to lay down some rhythm. With Tony’s longtime musical collaborator, friend and champion, Damon Albarn, we jammed til the cows came home. We partied in Nigeria, we partied around Europe, and it was always about the music. Just grooving high, grooving deep. Tony Allen I love you, I’m so grateful to have had the chance to rock with you. God bless your beautiful soul”.

Tony Allen su NERDS ATTACK!
° The Good, The Bad & The Queen @ Lucca [2019]

° Jeff Mills & Tony Allen @ Auditorium [2017]

° Tony Allen Quartet @ Monk [2016]

° A day with TONY ALLEN [2015]

° Tony Allen @ Villa Aperta Festival [2015]