TONY ALLEN TRIBUTE TO ART BLAKEY
TONY ALLEN, drums / JOWEE OMICIL, saxophones, flute / JEAN-PHILIPPE DARY, piano / MATTHIAS ALLAMANE, double bass
It is only fair that the drummer who invented Afrobeat now pays tribute to the drummer who invented hard bop. For, since Tony Allen was given a few years ago a new lease of life in Paris and elsewhere, one is inclined to forget that his so distinctive style, made of gentle touches and hammering, comes as much from African and Nigerian roots than from rhythm boppers such as Kenny Clarke, Max Roach and, mainly, Art Blakey. And all of them could have signed his statement: "I am committed to the drums as to an orchestra; I try to make my playing orchestral." When one knows that Art Bakey apparently made a mysterious initiatory trip, as soon as the late forties, the other way round: to Nigeria, as witnessed in many over-rhythmical records that followed, one can only long for this reunion on top of time's abyss...
MICHEL PORTAL "Minneapolis"
Michel Portal saxophone, bass clarinet, bandoneon / Tony Hymas keyboards / Vernon Reid guitar / Sonny Thompson bass / Stokley Williams drums
Michel Portal did revealed: "Have we got anything better to do, in this bloody musician's life, than meet as many persons as we can?" And that's just what he did again in 2001 by sending from Minneapolis a striking record to the jazz and funk lovers, to the real connoisseurs of this clarinet and bandoneon player and to the others. Sons d'hiver immediately greeted this blazing quintet, consisting of nothing less than Black Rock Coalition and Living Colour's guitarist, Prince's rhythm section of that time, and a keyboardist and composer known as English but more likely extraterrestrial who put on and urged on some tremendous flights. For his eightieth birthday, Portal got a notion to give it another try. And so did Sons d'hiver, without hesitation.
Contrary to what has been announced, Michael Bland will unfortunately not hold the sticks for Michel Portal "Minneapolis" concert the 19th of February. He will be replaced by Stokley Williams, another key musician from Minneapolis. Son of a distinguished and active teacher of Afro-American History, Stokley Williams has already shown multiple talents. One of a kind drummer, passionate about his instrument's history, he also shines in the art of singing. Thanks to Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, he has already performed with Janet Jackson, Sheila E., Whitney Houston, Prince, the Isley Brothers, Lionel Richie, Bilal, Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige, Jill Scott, Gladys Knight, Patti Labelle, Alicia Keys, Toni Braxton, A Tribe Called Quest, Luther Vandross, Usher, rappers Tech N9ne, WallE, Brother Ali and, more recently, Robert Glasper. He is also active in the Minneapolis Jazz scene with Anthony Cox, Bill Mike, Peter Schimke, Estaire Godinezand, and he's featured in the all-star recording of activist and philosopher Cornel West. A protégé of Prince (with who he sings in "Musicology"), Stokley Williams is Mint Condition's singer and Ursus Minor's drummer since 2005.