Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Tony Allen, Film of Life

If you don't know the Afrobeat stylings of Tony Allen (and I'll admit I have missed him), you probably should. Here he is with his 10th album, Film of Life (Jazz Village), and it is a good one.

The rhythm section, guitars and bass, and horns all come at you in the best Fela Kuti Afrofunk groove mode, with some new twists, too. Tony hails from Lagos, Nigeria. His lyrics talk about struggle and have an autobiographical feel. The "jazzbastards" produced this one and give us an ambience that puts the groove up front and the instrumental embellishments, the backup vocals and Tony's lead in a great light.

There are psychedelic aspects added to the mix, and of course the soulfulness primary to Afrobeat is in full force.

Top-notch progressive arrangements, the hippest of grooves and Tony's very real commitment to being here comes through beautifully.

It both gives you what you might expect, then gives you things you don't. Both work very well towards a sound that builds on what has been and combines things in unexpected ways. Recommended!

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