Release Date: 8th September 2017
Following on from his EP earlier this year, A Tribute to Art Blakey, Tony Allen presents The Source – an album that both represents Blue Note’s classic era and symbolizes the label’s innovative present. The Source has been cited by Tony Allen himself as being the best recording of his life – an impressive claim given his already-extensive discography, but one that is agreed upon by collaborator and saxophonist Yann Jankielewicz, who has said that: “Tony has never played drums as well as this. He’s never had as much freedom, never had as much power as he does today.”
Following on from his EP A Tribute to Art Blakey, which Pitchfork magazine called an “energized” release, Allen began preparing The Source with the aim of incorporating his Art Blakey inspirations into a musical reflection of his journey from Africa to America and beyond. To share writing tasks and take care of the arrangements, he called on the afore-mentioned saxophonist Yann Jankielewicz, with whom he has worked since 2009. The eleven tracks on The Source are the result of patient efforts, which flowed from a mutual love of jazz greats like Lester Bowie, Art Blakey and Gil Evans. Yann has compared Allen to these “musician-architects” and described Allen’s prodigious ability to “build on a drum pattern with rare precision”; a musicianship that helps to unify the disparate guest stars that feature on this album.
Surrounding the drummer are some of the best artists on a scene that is difficult to call “jazz” due to its highly unpredictable nature: French musicians, including trombonist Daniel Zimmermann, Rémi Sciuto (saxophone),Vincent Taurelle (keyboard) and Mathias Allamane (double bass) are joined by other musicians including the Gorillaz co-creator and Blur frontman Damon Albarn, who lends his musical talents and keyboard playing to the track “Cool Cats”. Overall, though eleven diverse performers may star on this album, Tony Allen’s “ever-creative” (The Irish Times) presence is felt throughout every track.
Tony Allen launches his album at the Jazz Café, London on September 22nd.