- 01 May 20
The Nigerian drummer died suddenly in Paris yesterday, April 30.
Tony Allen, who pioneered Afrobeat alongside his former bandmate Fela Kuti, has died, aged 79.
Once described by Brian Eno as "perhaps the greatest drummer who has ever lived", Allen was a member of Damon Albarn's supergroup The Good, The Bad & The Queen in the later years of his life, after serving as the musical director of Fela Kuti's Africa '70 from 1968 to 1979.
His manager, Eric Trosset confirmed his death, noting that it was not linked to COVID-19.
"We don't know the exact cause of death," he continued. "He was in great shape, it was quite sudden. I spoke to him at 1pm then two hours later he was sick and taken to Pompidou hospital, where he died."
The Red Hot Chili Peppers' Flea is among those who have paid tribute to the legendary musician.
The epic Tony Allen, the greatest drummer on earth has left us. What a wildman with a massive, kind and free heart and the deepest one-of-a-kind groove. Fela Kuti did not invent afrobeat, Fela and Tony birthed it… https://t.co/qXqMAP7QzT
— Flea (@flea333) May 1, 2020
RIP #TonyAllen, a towering musical legend who pioneered Afrobeat alongside Fela Kuti & was also a jazz drummer at heart who idolized Art Blakey, Max Roach & Kenny Clarke. We were proud to release Tony's recent explorations of his deep jazz influences. https://t.co/onhNPMria8
— Blue Note Records (@bluenoterecords) May 1, 2020
— Ayo Shonaiya (@AyoShonaiya) April 30, 2020
RIP TONY ALLEN. THE GOAT AMONGST GOATS. DO YOUR RESEARCH. LEGENDS NEVER DIE. THE INVENTOR OF RHYTHM #Afrobeat
— MAJOR LAZER (@MAJORLAZER) April 30, 2020
#RIP Tony Allen. Allen was the drummer and musical director of Fela Kuti's band Africa '70 from 1968 to 1979, and is one of the primary co-founders of the genre of Afrobeat music. #TonyAllen #Fela #Drummer pic.twitter.com/EwOBrvkTHm
— Alain Mabanckou (@amabanckou) April 30, 2020
RIP Tony Allen pic.twitter.com/IX7Bo7o1Hb
— maryanne hobbs (@maryannehobbs) May 1, 2020