Album: Tony Allen, Secret Agent, (World Circuit)

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The Independent Culture

Allen was the principal wheel in the engine room of Fela Kuti's monumental Afrobeat, a driving yet relaxed kit-drummer for the ages.

British pop fans will be more familiar with him from his role alongside Albarn and Simonon in The Good, The Bad & The Queen. But Secret Agent sees him reverting to home turf. It's a magisterial display, as you'd expect: the shuffle and its variants, teeming with ancilliary accents but straight-ahead propulsive in its fundamental intent. Be warned: the odd American inflection may offend purists.