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Tony Allen: Jack of All Parades

The celebrated Nigerian drummer and co-creator of Afrobeat delves deeper into jazz with tributes to his heroes Art Blakey and Tony Williams

Tony Allen (center) prepares for liftoff at the 2018 Newport Jazz Festival as Herlin Riley (left) and others watch the onstage action
Tony Allen (center) prepares for liftoff at the 2018 Newport Jazz Festival as Herlin Riley (left) and others watch the onstage action (Photo: Alan Nahigian)

Above: Tony Allen (center) prepares for liftoff at the 2018 Newport Jazz Festival as Herlin Riley (left) and others watch the onstage action. Photo: Alan Nahigian.

“I’m a half-caste,” Tony Allen says in his trailer dressing room at the Newport Jazz Festival. “Do you know that word, ‘half-caste?’ My father was Nigerian, and my mother was Ghanaian; they spoke different languages and came from different cultures. So I had a mixture of influences from the start.”

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