Tony Allen & Jeff Mills – Tomorrow Comes The Harvest – Blue Note

Tomorrow Comes The Harvest

Legendary drummer Tony Allen works alongside the “wizard” Jeff Mills to create this masterful cut of jazz infused joints, pitting drums against machines

All too often, high profile collaborations end with up more style than substance – however right from the get go, ‘Tomorrow Comes The Harvest’ is everything you could hope for. The skills of legendary drummer Tony Allen are balanced perfectly with techno titan Jeff Mills’ live 909 programming and use of effects, in a space where nothing takes prominence. The addition of Allen’s bandmate Jean Phi Dary on keys gels their compositions together with the addition of his cosmically inspired keys.

Picking up what can be deemed as the next phrase in a long-established conversation, Allen has collaborated with quite a few electronic artists during his long career but is quick to recognise the synergy he has with Mills:  “It really is a pure collaboration, not just through music, but in our minds and spirit as well…”

Starting out with the funky drawl of ‘Locked and Loaded, the duo strike up the dance with the kind of loose swagger you’d expect: pushed on by Dary’s expansively evolving melodies, the use of swept effects and trills of reverb ebb and flow without ever taking over. They then ease off into the superbly loose dubby jazz of ‘Altitudes’, which fades to a slightly more machine led mesh as the closing strokes chime out. Turn to the flipside and they keep up the sense of snaking ‘rhythm and roll’ as Mills introduces splashes of acid and soulful vamps over the teathered drums of ‘On The Run’. Last but not least, the stretched out strut of ‘The Seed’ rounds the recording off in high spirits as Dary’s keys soar to the highest elevation.

As much rooted in tradition as it seeks to open the envelope, “Tomorrow Comes The Harvest” is most of all an exciting experiment that has neatly found its own place for these two masters of rhythm to work in brilliant harmony.