Jimi Tenor and Tony Allen


Wisely, the veteran drummer and Afrobeat pioneer Tony Allen has chosen not to burn out or fade away. Instead, he’s kept his nose to the grindstone, working with everyone from Jimmy Cliff to Blur’s Damon Albarn since parting ways with Fela Kuti around 1980. Inspiration Information 4, out now on Strut Records, pairs Allen with yet another new partner, the eccentric vocalist and saxophonist Jimi Tenor.

Opening with the Prince-meets-Fela number “Against the Wall,” Inspiration unites Afrobeat with oddball soul—a winning, if unexpected combination. On the dub-leaning “Selfish Gene,” a vehicle for Tenor’s pained vocals and Allen’s surefooted percussion, the saxophonist declares himself the “king of the losers,” and wonders why a lover would expect him to change. “Cella’s Walk” features strong flute and koto work from Tenor, and resembles Mulatu Astatke’s mysterious Ethio-jazz.

Pick it up here.

Read more about Tony Allen in Wax Poetics Issue 39, the Africa Issue!


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