Film of Life Tony Allen

Cover Film of Life

Album info



Label: Jazz Village

Genre: World Music

Subgenre: Worldbeat

Artist: Tony Allen

Album including Album cover Booklet (PDF)


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  • 1Moving On06:40
  • 2Boat Journey04:46
  • 3Tiger's Skip03:51
  • 4Ewa04:11
  • 5Afo KunfFu Beat06:09
  • 6Koko Dance06:38
  • 7Go Back (feat. Damon Albarn)05:37
  • 8Ire Omo (feat. Adunni and Nefretiti)05:06
  • 9African Man05:03
  • 10Tony Wood (feat. Kuku)06:04
  • Total Runtime54:05

Info for Film of Life

Legendary Afrobeat drummer Tony Allen presents his tenth album Film of Life, an album that has the ring of a true self-portrait, an overview of his rich and exemplary career that began alongside Fela Kuti in 1960s Lagos and has continued on to Allen's recent collaborations with Damon Albarn in The Good, The Bad & The Queen and Rocket Juice & the Moon.

Film of Life extends the parameters of Afrobeat, encompassing jazz and psychelic pop, from “African Man” to “Afro Kung Fu Beat” (the original version can be heard on the The Last King of Scotland soundtrack), from “Tiger Skip” (featuring Damon Albarn on melodica) to Tonywood (recorded with the American-born Nigerian singer Kuku). A musician faithful to his roots, Tony is not afraid to take a stand, as in “The Boat Journey”, inspired by the recent struggles of exile. A theme echoed in “Go Back”, co-written and sung by Damon Albarn in the true spirit of the Philly sound. In harmony with the current renaissance of interest in Great Black Music, “Ire Omo”, “Mojo” (with Manu Dibango on saxophone), “Koko Dance” and “Insider” are instantly recognisable as the work of a past master of the art.

„The 70-year old's definitive statement.“ (Mojo)

„Allen's mastery of rhythm holds this inventive album together.“ (Q magazine)

„A master-drummer still in glorious form.“ (Guardian)

Tony Allen, drums, congas on 1 and 4, lead vocals on 1 and 2 with Adunni and Nefretiti – vocals on 8
Damon Albarn, melodica on 3 – lead vocals, piano, synths on 7 Cesar Anot – bass on 1, 2, 5, 6, 8, 9 and 10
Laurent Bardainne, tenor sax on 1, 6, 8, 9 and 10
Ludovic Bruni, tenor guitar on 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 and 10 – rhythm guitar on 2 and 3 – lead guitar on 2, 3, 4 and 6 – bass on 3, 4 and 7 – vibes on 4
Indy Dibongue, ukulele on 1 – rhythm guitar on 5, 6, 8, 9 and 10
Fixi, synth on 6 – clavinet on 10
Audrey Gbaguidi, backing vocals on 1 and 2
Antoine Giraud, trombone on 1, 6, 8, 9 and 10
Nicolas Giraud, trumpet on 1, 6, 8, 9 and 10
Yann Jankielewicz, baritone sax on 1, 6, 8, 9 and 10
Kuku, vocals on 6 and 10
Sandra Nkaké, backing vocals on 2 – lead vocals on 11
Vincent Taeger, percussion on 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 – marimba on 5 – vibes on 5 and 9 – synths on 6
Vincent Taurelle, synths – keys on 5

Recorded by Etienne Meunier at Studio A.L.B.E.R.T, Pantin, France
Mixed by Vincent Taurelle at Studio A.L.B.E.R.T.
Mastered by Antoine « Chab » Chabert at Translab, Paris, France
Produced by The Jazzbastards (Ludovic Bruni, Vincent Taeger, Vincent Taurelle)
Executive production and A & R Eric Trosset with Pascal Bussy

Tony Allen
The drummer and unofficial music director of the late Fela Kuti's band, Africa 70, from 1968 until 1979, Tony Allen (born Tony Oladipo Allen) helped create the sounds of Afro-beat. With his solo recordings, however, Allen has refused to remain stagnant, incorporating dub and avant-garde hip-hop influences into his modern African dance music.

A self-taught musician, Allen began to play drums at the age of 18 while working as a technician for a Nigerian radio station. Within nine months, he had embarked on a professional career as a drummer. Although Allen and Kuti had known each other since the early '60s, when they performed on the Nigerian music circuit with different bands, they began playing American-style jazz together in 1964. Before long, they shifted to an African-influenced style of highlife jazz, which they continued to play for five years.

Forming Africa 70 in 1969, Allen and Kuti began reaching out to an international audience. A few months later, while touring North America for the first time, Allen was introduced to the music of James Brown, Max Roach, and Art Blakey. Despite critical acclaim, the group faced numerous obstacles, including financial difficulties, racial discrimination, and political oppression. Arrested during the first of a long series of government-sponsored raids of black townships in 1974, Allen spent three days in jail. The following year, he released his first album as a leader, Progress. After performing his last show with Kuti and Africa 70 at the Berlin Jazz Festival in 1979, Allen continued to play with his group Lagos until immigrating to Europe in 1984. After temporarily living in London, he settled in France the following year and worked as a session drummer for such transplanted African musicians as Ray Lema and Manu DiBango, and released Never Expect Power Always (N.E.P.A.) in 1985.

Allen was largely inactive for the next decade, although he re-emerged in the late '90s with a string of singles, culminating in the release of Home Cooking in 2002. Reissues of his '70s solo albums started showing up around the same time, as well as Eager Hands and Restless Feet: The Best of Tony Allen, a summation of his post-Fela career. In 2004, a live album came out, and 2006 saw a return to his Afro-beat roots with Lagos No Shaking, which was recorded in the Nigerian city itself.

That same year, Allen co-founded the British alternative rock outfit the Good, the Bad & the Queen alongside Paul Simonon (the Clash), Simon Tong (the Verve), and Damon Albarn (Blur) and released a well-received eponymous album under the moniker in 2007, followed in 2009 by an all-new collection of Afro-beat material called Secret Agent, as well as Inspiration Information, Vol. 4 with Jimi Tenor. He also guested on Zap Mama's full-lengths Supermoon and ReCreation.

In 2010, the Black Voices album was remastered and released in unedited session form under the title Black Voices Re-Visited. Allen further collaborated with Albarn and Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea in the band Rocket Juice & the Moon. They released a self-titled album in 2013. He returned to recording solo in 2014 with a French trio, the Jazz Bastards. The results, titled Film of Life, featured guest appearances by Albarn, American-born Nigerian singer Kuku, and the renowned vocal ensemble Adunni & Nefertiti. It was released by Jazz Village in October 2014.

Booklet for Film of Life

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