At 76 years old, Tony Allen is playing the drums at a higher level than ever before, according to his saxophonist Yann Jankielewicz. That’s saying a lot, as the Nigerian-born, Paris-based Allen has been performing for over 50 years with hundreds of recordings, including a 15 year stint with Fela Kuti. He recently released his latest track, “Push & Pull,” which is a single from his upcoming The Source album. Allen has said the project is his “life’s best recording.”
If “Push & Pull” is any indication, that may be true. The groovy, energetic record is anchored by a buoyant trumpet melodies that gracefully bend around Allen’s spry percussion. The bombastic horns soar through the composition, bubbling about before giving room for crisp, intricate drum breakdowns. The record harkens back to the classic origins of Afrobeat, when Allen helped merge funk and jazz elements into glorious calls for revolution.
Years later, we’re still pushing and pulling – and Allen is still providing the musical backdrop for that struggle. The Source is set to be released in September. You can listen to “Push and Pull” below.