Allen died from a heart attack in Paris on April 30, his manager confirmed yesterday (May 1).
The musician was a friend and frequent collaborator of Gorillaz co-founder Damon Albarn, playing with him in supergroups The Good, The Bad & The Queen and Rocket Juice & The Moon, and taking part in various Africa Express projects.
‘How Far?’ marks the pair’s most recent collaboration and was written and recorded in London just before the coronavirus lockdown came into place. “It is being shared immediately as a tribute to the spirit of a great man, Tony Allen,” a press release explains.
The press release ends with a quote from Allen: “I want to take care of youngsters, they have messages and I want to bring them on my beat.” Listen to ‘How Far?’ above now.
Foals’ Yannis Philippakis was among the many stars to pay tribute to Allen, a pioneering figure in the Afrobeat scene and former bandleader of Fela Kuti. Allen and Philippakis had been working on a new collaboration, which the Foals frontman recently said he was “planning to finish” while in lockdown.
Writing on Instagram, Philippakis said spending time and making music with Allen was “one of the great joys of my life”. “He was a beautiful and strong man,” he said. “Funny, irreverent and wise. He emitted an energy like no other. Will be drinking and blasting your records out tonight. Thank you for everything. The master has left the building but his drums play on forever.”