In a July 1999 article, Wire magazine called Tony Allen “the Human Loop,” and wrote “Allen spins his polyrhythms into hypnotic swirls of Tantric proportions that recall both the infinity of the SP1200 and the long-lost skills of the Meters’ Ziggy Modeliste.” Allen himself has said that “when I play it’s like an orchestra in itself.”
Allen was the rhythmic force of Fela Kuti’s music from 1964-1980, and legend has it that four drummers were required to replace Allen in live shows after he left the band.
Many writers on Afrobeat attribute the sound in part to the funk of James Brown, but Allen will tell anyone that the influence ran the other way around. When James Brown played Nigeria in 1970, his arranger came to a Fela show and attempted to transcribe Allen’s foot patterns.
Tony Allen has lived in Paris with his family since 1985. A complete biography can be read here.
Doors are at 7 pm, show is at 8. Tickets here.