TONY ALLEN & HUGH MASEKELA’S REJOICE OUT NOW VIA WORLD CIRCUIT RECORDS
JAZZ TIMES PREMIERES “NEVER (LAGOS NEVER GONNA BE THE SAME)” MASEKELA’S FIRST POSTHUMOUS RELEASE
Rejoice, the upcoming collaborative album from legendary African artists Tony Allen and Hugh Masekela, is set for release on March 20 via World Circuit Records. Featuring a number of respected contemporary jazz artists including Joe Armon-Jones (Ezra Collective) and Steve Williamson, the record is available for pre-order HERE. The album is Masekela’s first posthumous release following his passing in 2018.
In celebration of the new album, Jazz Times is premiering the track “Never (Lagos Never Gonna Be The Same)” alongside a new video featuring footage of Allen and Masekela playing the song at the original 2010 recording sessions at Livingston Studios in London. Watch the video HERE and share it HERE.
The new track, which features vocals from Masekela, is a jazz-meets-Afrobeat-hued tribute to Fela Kuti, the towering pioneer of Afrobeat who collaborated closely with Allen for decades and had a powerful influence on both men’s lives, musically and politically. “Fela was like a brother to me,” notes Allen. “He was a true genius and I worked with him for 15 years because I believed in him so much. When Hugh and I were recording this song, Hugh immediately wanted to sing. He was singing for his friend. He and Fela were close, they had a lot in common. It was a friendship even more than a musical thing, and yes, of course, they were both political animals.”
Having first met in the ’70s thanks to their respective close associations with Fela Kuti, Allen, the Nigerian master drummer widely hailed as the co-founder of Afrobeat (and long-time member of alt-rock supergroup The Good The Bad & The Queen), and Masekela, South Africa’s legendary trumpet player, talked for decades about making an album together. When, in 2010, their touring schedules coincided in the UK, the moment presented itself and producer Nick Gold took the opportunity to record their encounter. The unfinished sessions, consisting of all original compositions by the pair, lay in archive until after Masekela passed away in 2018. With renewed resolution, Tony Allen and Nick Gold, with the blessing and participation of Hugh’s estate, unearthed the original tapes and finished recording the album in summer 2019 at the same London studio where the original sessions had taken place.
Allen and Masekela are accompanied on the record by a new generation of well-respected jazz musicians including Tom Herbert (Acoustic Ladyland, The Invisible), Joe Armon-Jones (Ezra Collective), Mutale Chashi (Kokoroko) and Steve Williamson.
Rejoice can be seen as the long overdue confluence of two mighty African musical rivers; a union of two free-flowing souls for whom borders, whether physical or stylistic, are things to pass through or ignore completely. According to Allen, the album deals in “a kind of South African-Nigerian swing-jazz stew,” a description borne out by even a cursory earful of the parallel harmony horn hook and loping drums of “Agbada Bougou,” the propulsive percussive swing and brass chatter of “Coconut Jam” or the skittering snare drums of “Obama Shuffle Blues.”
Tony Allen will perform songs from Rejoice with a specially assembled band at shows throughout 2020, recently performing two intimate sold out dates at London’s Church of Sound.
TONY ALLEN & HUGH MASEKELA, REJOICE
- Robbers, Thugs and Muggers (O’Galajani)
- Agbada Bougou
- Coconut Jam
- Never (Lagos Never Gonna Be The Same)
- Slow Bones
- Jabulani (Rejoice, Here Comes Tony)
- Obama Shuffle Strut Blues
- We’ve Landed
TONY ALLEN PLAYS REJOICE LIVE
|May 9||Cheltenham, UK||Cheltenham Jazz Festival|
|June 26-27||Svendborg, DK||Svendborg Jazzfestival|
Photo credit: Hugo Glendinning & Gavin Rodgers