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
Believe it or not, Gold is the first compilation with U.S. distribution to provide a fair and rather thorough glance at Kool & the Gang’s career from 1969 through 1987. Dozens upon dozens of other sets either focus on one of the group’s distinct eras or attempt clumsily to appease those who want “Jungle Boogie” and “Joanna” in one spot. The Chronicles catalog division of Mercury realized that roughly 90 percent of Kool & the Gang’s chart hits can fit neatly on two discs, so this is an ideal package for casual fans who can appreciate raw ’70s funk and slick, radio-friendly ’80s R&B.