Afrobeat innovator and Fela Kuti drummer Tony Allen has died in a Paris hospital aged 79. The cause of death is unknown.
Allen became world renowned for his work in Fela Kuti's band Africa '70 in the 1960s and 70s. He developed a style of drumming that fused West Africa's fuji and highlife with US funk and jazz. In January this year the first single, 'We've Landed' from his collaboration Rejoice with Hugh Masekela was announced. And in recent years he had returned to his jazz roots, in 2017 for instance if you craved proof as to how the subtleties of the drummer’s beat radically alters jazz and moves you away from relying on the sound of say hard bop that you hold in your head from classic recordings then his record A Tribute To Art Blakey And The Jazz Messengers on Blue Note represented just that.
Allen was inspired as a teenager by Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker. He was drummer in the supergroup The Good, the Bad & the Queen that also featuring Blur singer Damon Albarn and The Clash bassist Paul Simonon.