The first collaboration - and sadly final album - of two legends of African music is truly a joyous celebration of life.
Since their first meeting in the 70s via mutual friend/collaborator Fela Kuti, Nigerian drummer Tony Allen and South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela had talked about making an album together. It wasn't until 2010 that they finally found themselves in the studio, but the results initially stayed unreleased. It wasn't until Masekela's untimely death in 2018 that Allen returned to the recordings and Rejoice was completed.
Described by Allen as “a kind of South African-Nigerian swing-jazz stew,” the music's backbone is undoubtedly Allen's shuffling afrobeat rhythms, with Masekela's playful bebop melodies dancing across the top. Also lending their talents to the record are Steve Williamson, Ezra Collective's Joe Armon-Jones, KOKOROKO's Mutale Chashi and other members of London's jazz scene, all of whom do an incredible job helping the duo shine, along with producer Nick Gold (those are some seriously crisp drums).
Sadly the world also lost Tony Allen just a month after this album was released. Myself and STP's behind the scenes helper Marvin were incredibly fortunate to attend what must have been one of his very last gigs, at Church Of Sound up the road in Clapton, and it's a night we'll never forget. Watching him play was such a pleasure, even aged 79 he emitted pure groove with effortless cool.
Close your eyes and bear witness to two luminaries basking in each others light and shining for evermore, preserved in this disc of amber called Rejoice.