Blue Note Records has announced the May 19th digital release of Tony Allen’s new EP, A Tribute to Art Blakey. On the 4-track EP, which is a preview of the legendary Nigerian drummer and Afrobeat pioneer’s forthcoming first album for Blue Note, currently scheduled for release in autumn 2017, Allen pays tribute to his longstanding idol, the American jazz drummer and Blue Note legend Art Blakey.

The EP was recorded live in Allen’s current hometown of Paris and features a fiery 7-piece band interpreting the Jazz Messengers classics “Moanin’,” “A Night In Tunisia,” “Politely” and “Drum Thunder Suite” through an Afrobeat prism. The EP was produced by Vincent Taurelle, whose production credits also include Allen’s previous album Film of Life.

While American jazz – in particular the recordings of Blakey and Max Roach – had a big impact on Allen during his early musical development in Nigeria, the music of Africa was also hugely influential for Blakey (aka Abdullah Ibn Buhaina) throughout his career. In the late-1940s Blakey spent time travelling abroad in West Africa exploring the culture, religion, and of course, the drumming. Blakey later recorded several albums that were heavily influenced by African music including Orgy in Rhythm (1957), Holiday for Skins (1958), and The African Beat (1962), which featured the Nigerian drummer and percussionist Solomon Ilori.

Personnel:

Drums: Tony Allen

Bass: Mathias Allamane

Piano: Jean-Philippe Dary

Tenor Saxophone: Yann Jankielewicz

Trumpet: Nicolas Giraud

Saxophones: Rémi Sciuto

Tenor Saxophone: Jean Jacques Elangue

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