Tony Allen: There Is No End
Label: BLUE NOTE
"There Is No End" is an absolutely unique, all-around fascinating hip-hop album that legendary Afrobeat drummer Tony Allen worked on until his last breath. When Tony Allen passed away in Paris on April 30, 2020, a few weeks before his 80th birthday, his completely unexpected death sent the music world into a state of shock. For close to 60 years, he had been the pulsating heartbeat of Afrobeat, which he had created in Fela Kuti's highlife jazz band Koola Lobitos and with Africa '70, and subsequently refined and varied in ways that allowed him to collaborate with artists from a wide range of genres. Until shortly before his death, the drummer, bubbling with energy, had been working tirelessly on a new project with young rappers, singers and producers that would be titled "There Is No End." But then he died before most of the artists he chose had a chance to record with him. Luckily, by then he had already recorded the grooves with French producer Vincent Taeger (who is a drummer himself) that now form the springy foundation for his final album. "Tony's idea was to give the rappers room to breathe and create freely," Vincent explains. "He really didn't want to just play Afrobeat, but rather create something new and open, with very different sounds for the drums on each song, as well as moods and tempos that are really rooted in hip-hop at the core."