Though perhaps best (or at least better) known for his work with the Police, guitarist Andy Summers seems to be doing rather well for himself. He may not be filling arenas and attracting screaming teenage girls, but their mothers can scream pretty loud as well, and as it is to them that Summers now appears to be playing, his maturity and ability to look forward work in his favor. Backed by bassist Tony Levin and drummer Gregg Bissonette, Summers works well as a frontman. A captivatingly atmospheric voyage round Summers's bleached jazz roots. Dominated unsurprisingly by Summers's intricate fretwork, these 11 instrumentals comprise chiefly originals and homages to jazz maestros.
Many a guitar fan would have predicted that a summit between legendary guitarists Andy Summers (the Police) and Robert Fripp (King Crimson) would result in a guitar solofest. But the music on their first collaboration together, I Advance Masked, stresses guitar textures and moods over indulgent soloing. Although the recording sessions weren't entirely enjoyable for Summers (who was experiencing marital problems at the time), some very beautiful music can be found on the resulting album. The music for the track "Girl on a Swing" does an excellent job of conveying the song's title in one's mind, and the duo's guitars weave wonderful polyrhythmic guitar lines throughout "China – Yellow Leader." "The Truth of Skies" is an atmospheric piece, created by a wash of keyboard sounds and guitar dissonance, while "New Marimba" would have sounded right at home on an early-'80s King Crimson album. I Advance Masked has a dreamlike quality to it, and is definitely not typical rock music. It's highly recommended to fans of these two great and original guitarists. ~ by Greg Prato
Pi2 (π2) were formed as something of a Spanish super-group in 1998, with nationally-known producer and composer Pito Costa reassembling a lineup of Lluís Ribalta, Llís Casals, Albert Lleal and Oriol Camprodón that had previously worked together to create the compositions which would become their first album, 'Retorn'.
This is their third and to me most mature album. The opener delivers pleasant symphonic rock with a 'neo-progressive feel' (Marillion, Pendragon), the electric guitarwork is good (powerful and sensitive soli with echoes from Gilmour and Rothery), the keyboards sound lush (Banks-inspired synthesizer runs) and the music has lots of shifting moods (from romantic to bombastic)…
This 15-track compilation gathers the best of Chicago soul singer Tyrone Davis' Columbia recordings from 1976 to 1981. Cut after Davis made his career defining soul hits for Dakar in the '60s, he scored a few more chart toppers including the upbeat, disco era tracks "Give it Up, Turn it Loose, "This I Swear," and "Get On Up (Disco)." But it's the lush, Quiet Storm material represented exceptionally well on "In the Mood," "Lets be Closer Together" and "Close to You," (not the Carpenters tune), that finds the vocalist in his true element. This is a good introductory retrospective from this romantic soul master and the perfect companion to 20 Greatest Hits which focuses on his Dakar material.
Say you start a group called the Society for New Music, commission composer-stars-in-the-making and do it for thirty years straight, you might expect your scrapbooks to be quite interesting. What you might not realize is that your efforts now constitute a major segment of the backbone of contemporary American concert music and you have premiered a boatload of chamber works by composers who have gone on to distinguished careers. Such is the case with Syracuse’s Society for New Music founded by Neva Pilgrim, who opened their treasure chest of commissioned works from 1972 – 2002 and has put them together as the 5-CD set entitled “American Masters for the 21st Century.”