Selections: Tony Allen

Welcome back to Selections, a series of exclusive artist-curated Spotify playlists from those in the know.

The legendary Tony Allen first cut his teeth by playing the drums in Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti’s Afrika 70, and later Egypt 80. Over the course of 15 years, he worked with the visionary bandleader on 20 albums and together, they put African music on the map like never before. As a self-taught artist, Allen learnt how to play the drum kit by listening to records by Bebop drummers such as Art Blakey and Kenny Clarke. His musical discourse saw him continue to pioneer the beat in Afrobeat.

This year, he’s released the album The Source, which he cites as his greatest work to date. Considering his extensive discography, it’s an achievement.

Below, the pioneer digs deep into the crates for two hours worth of jazz selections with a few curveballs thrown in for good measure. There’s Denys Baptiste, Horace Silver, Nubya Garcia, Earl Zinger and then Vince Staples. And loads more.

The Source is out now via Bluenote.