That the resulting product seems more Allenish is not surprising if you’re not familiar with Tenor and his previous work. His last few outings, while still retaining his electronic elements, display a shift towards Afro-beat. That being said, pairing him with Allen seems less drastic then one might assume otherwise. Allen, of course, was partially responsible for the genesis of Afro-beat along with Kuti, so the sound here has his stamp all over it. Mix the new and the old, and you’ve got the fourth volume for the Inspiration Information series.
Although heavily indebted to Afro-beat, by no means does this album stop there. Tenor brings some of his personal touch to bear as well, and the resulting nine tracks mix the Afro-beat base with elements of jazz (check out the killer flute solo brought forth in The Darker Side of Night), reggae (hear Selfish Gene below for a wonderful example), funk (take your pick – the whole darn thing is funky), afro-lounge-exotica (it’s the best term I can use to describe Cella’s Walk), and even early proto-rap a la The Last Poets and Gil Scott-Heron (listen to Path To Wisdom, one of the album’s most unique tracks, to experience this).
At only ten tracks, the album really flies by, although each track does have its own particular character. One wouldn’t expect less from Allen, but it’s no doubt a refreshing introduction to Tenor for many listeners. Check out Selfish Gene below, then the album, and finally check out some of Tenor’s solo work.
and some solo work:
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