The Tony Allen Collection
The undisputed king of Afrobeat drums, Tony Allen revolutionised the musical landscape of an entire continent influencing the course of Western pop music. Born in Lagos in 1940 Tony never took up traditional African percussion. Listening to the recordings of the great American bebop drummers Art Blakey and Max Roach, he invented a technique that he gradually refined by honing his command of the cymbals, in particular the hi-hat, little used by African drummers – and the tom-toms. When he met up with Fela Kuti in the 1960s they collaborated first in the renowned highlife-jazz band, Koola Lobitos before setting the world on fire with Kuti’s Afrobeat.
We were fortunate enough to be able to record Tony in 2013. We created an album of drum tracks, Tony Allen's Afro Drops, and took the opportunity to fully sample his Pearl masters kit too. This was the only time Tony created a specific album of drum loops, tracks and samples.