Andy Summers: Synaesthesia

The Police man’s quality, world-infused solo work from ’95.

TODO alt text

It’s hard to believe that Summers celebrated his 71st birthday in December; but as long as that portrait stays out of sight in his attic he’ll stay unnaturally youthful. Perhaps its his musical drive and curiosity that keeps him young too, certainly his career away from Sting and Stewart Copeland would back this up. His sophisticated chordal language was a defining aspect of The Police’s sound, and albums such as Synaesthesia see him lean towards a fusion of rock, world music (not new age) and modern jazz.

Opener Cubano Rebop marries Latin-flavoured rhythms and his thick, vocal-like guitar tone. There are hints of the brain that gave us Behind My Camel on Meshes Of The Afternoon, and the tongue-in-cheek, Batman-referencing surf-pop/jazz hybrid Monk Hangs Ten pops any bubble of pretention.

A world-class, ever-evolving guitarist, Summers style is accessible given the genre: no Di Meola wigouts, and the title track is, of all things, a minimal piano piece.

Closing with enigmatic acoustic guitar work I Remember, the album (with Ginger Baker on bonus track Triangles) is almost 20 itself, but could have been made yesterday. Mark of the man, perhaps.