Rejoice (World Circuit)

Tony Allen and Hugh Masekela 

Released March 2020

Jazziz Best Albums of 2020




‘Rejoice’ is a very special collaboration between Tony Allen, the legendary drummer and co-founder of Afrobeat, and Hugh Masekela, the master trumpet player of South African jazz. Having first met in the 70s thanks to their respective close associations with Fela Kuti, the two world-renowned musicians talked for decades about making an album together. When, in 2010, their touring schedules coincided in the UK, the moment presented itself and producer Nick Gold took the opportunity to record their encounter. The unfinished sessions, consisting of all original compositions by the pair, lay in archive until after Masekela passed away in 2018. With renewed resolution, Tony Allen and Nick Gold, with the blessing and participation of Hugh Masekela’s estate, unearthed the original tapes and finished recording the album in summer 2019 at the same London studio where the original sessions had taken place. ‘Rejoice’ can be seen as the long overdue confluence of two mighty African musical rivers – a union of two free-flowing souls for whom borders, whether physical or stylistic, are things to pass through or ignore completely. According to Allen, the album deals in “a kind of South African-Nigerian swing-jazz stew”, with its roots firmly in Afrobeat. Allen and Masekela are accompanied on the record by a new generation of well-respected jazz musicians including Tom Herbert (Acoustic Ladyland / The Invisible), Joe Armon-Jones (Ezra Collective), Mutale Chashi (Kokoroko) and Steve Williamson.

Track Listing:

1. Robbers, Thugs and Muggers (O’Galajani) (Tony Allen / Hugh Masekela) 04:35

2. Agbada Bougou (Tony Allen / Hugh Masekela) 05:26

3. Coconut Jam (Tony Allen / Hugh Masekela) 03:31

4. Never (Lagos Never Gonna Be the Same) (Tony Allen / Hugh Masekela) 03:53

5. Slow Bones (Tony Allen / Hugh Masekela) 05:49

6. Jabulani (Rejoice, Here Comes Tony) (Tony Allen / Hugh Masekela) 05:41

7. Obama Shuffle Strut Blues (Tony Allen / Hugh Masekela) 04:40

8. We’ve Landed (Tony Allen / Hugh Masekela) 04:38


Tony Allen: drums, percussion, vocals (8)

Hugh Masekela: vocals (1, 4, 6), flugelhorn

Tom Herbert: bass (1-4, 6, 8)

Mutale Chashi: bass (4, 5)

Lekan Babalola: percussion (1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8)

Steve Williamson: tenor saxophone (2, 5, 7)

Lewis Wright: vibraphone (4, 6, 8)

Joe Armon-Jones: keyboards (1, 4, 5)

Elliot Galvin: keyboards (7)

Recorded in 2010, at Livingston Studios, London, by Jerry Boys, Sonny Johns

Additional Recording by Patrick Ruffino

Assistant Studio Engineer: Dan Ingall

Mixed by Sonny Johns

Mastered by Guy Davie

Photography by Gavin Rodgers, Hugo Glendinning

Additional Production: Sonny Johns

Art Direction: Neel Panchal

Design: Florence de la Fournière

Produced by Hugh Masekela, Nick Gold, Tony Allen


The only collaboration between Tony Allen, one of the architects of Afrobeat, and the Father of South African Jazz, Hugh Masekela, is a one-of-a-kind work of Afrofusion and the blend of two distinctive idioms and creative approaches. Recorded in 2010 but only completed last year by producer Nick Gold, putting the finishing touches the musicians had discussed. Rejoice is all the more valuable now that both trailblazing musicians have sadly passed away.

Matt Micucci (Jazziz)