Afrobeat Legend Tony Allen Preps 'Tribute to Art Blakey' EP - Rolling Stone
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Afrobeat Legend Tony Allen Honors Jazz Great With ‘Tribute to Art Blakey’ EP

Drummer releases smoldering take on Blakey’s 1958 classic “Moanin'”

Tony Allen Covers Art BlakeyTony Allen Covers Art Blakey

Afrobeat legend Tony Allen honors another extraordinary drummer, jazz giant Art Blakey, on "Moanin'," a cut off Allen's EP 'A Tribute to Art Blakey.'

Afrobeat legend Tony Allen honors another extraordinary drummer, the late jazz giant Art Blakey, on “Moanin’,” a cut off Allen’s upcoming EP A Tribute to Art Blakey.

Fueled by Allen’s elastic, polyrhythmic pulse, the drummer and his backing band deliver a expertly executed spin on the 1958 track penned by pianist Bobby Timmons. Blakey’s original take – the opening cut on the Jazz Messangers’ Moanin’, which also inspired A Tribute to Art Blakey‘s album cover – boasted trumpet great Lee Morgan.

Recorded live in Paris with a seven-piece band, A Tribute to Art Blakey features four of the drummer’s famed Jazz Messengers recordings – “Moanin’,” “A Night In Tunisia,” “Politely” and “Drum Thunder Suite” – as interpreted through Allen’s unique Afrobeat style.

Allen, who served as the backbeat on dozens of classic Fela Kuti LPs, cites jazz legends like Blakey and Max Roach for inspiring his style while he perfected his craft in Nigeria.

Blakey had previously studied that continent’s sound during a sojourn to western Africa in the Forties, and a decade later, recorded a string of African-inspired jazz LPs like 1957’s Orgy in Rhythm and 1962’s The African Beat.

A Tribute to Art Blakey is out digitally May 19th through Blue Note Records; those who pre-order now will receive an instant download of “Moanin’.”

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