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‘Rejoice’ is a very special collaboration between Tony Allen, the legendary drummer and co-founder of Afrobeat, and Hugh Masekela, the master trumpet player of South African jazz. Having first met in the 70s thanks to their respective close associations with FelaKuti, the two world-renowned musicians 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 Masekela’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.
‘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”, with its roots firmly in Afrobeat. 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.
Matt says: Relishing in the top ring of the pyramid we find emperors Tony Allen & Hugh Masekela in primo form; whipping up a dazzling eight tracks of afro-beat mayhem that few can rival. Especially poignant and arresting following Masekela's death a couple of years ago; it's a delight to see the musician on top of his game till his dying breadth. They don't make em like they used to!
1. Robbers, Thugs And Muggers (O’Galajani)
2. Agbada Bougou
3. Coconut Jam
4. Never (Lagos Never Gonna Be The Same)
5 Slow Bones
6 Jabulani (Rejoice, Here Comes Tony)
7 Obama Shuffle Strut Blues
8 We’ve Landed