Its a late night vibe, a slow sexy pace that’s developed by Tony Allen’s instrumental jazz album The Source. Its a night of romance, an evening sat pondering a treatise or a game of cards after a mid-week night at the pub. The backbone is a soft metronomic bass or beat, usually accompanied with a variety of night time brass instrumentation telling stories of the night, of glitz, glamour and intrigue. Early on there are acidic hints, you know, its a bit acid jazz, I’m not at all surprised to see that Allen inhabits the same vocational sphere as the Chief Librarian of the World Contemporary Jazz Archive, Gilles Peterson. There’s Sun Ra influences at time, you know where the beat really slows down, inviting your soul to ponder some inchoate feelings or thoughts on what it means to be human on the best the human spirit can be. A motif is developed by one instrument, then several join in, creating a sense of joy. Because of that bass backbone the album is almost always smooth drinking, there’s none of this hectic geese squawking nonsense, or at least if there is the geese are well trained. Its quality from beginning to end and definitely a part of the jazz canon. The most surprising thing about the album, which I only realised when my eye caught the small print on the back of the album was that Damon Albarn did the piano on one track. This only goes to add to Albarn’s reputation as being a bit of a wheeler and dealer in the leftfield musical scene, as being a man of many people, genres and talents. I’m assuming its the Damon Albarn here. It is the Damon Albarn, I checked. There’s only one right?
Tony Allen’s The Source Blue Note Out Now