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
The Scarlatti family is one of many musical dynasties in music history. Only two of its number are still well-known today: Alessandro and his son Domenico. Alessandro was born in Palermo as the second son of Pietro Scarlata - the family name in its original form - who was active as a tenor. During his career Alessandro lived and worked in several cities: Rome, Naples and Venice. At a young age he was already a famous and much sought-after composer. His younger brother Francesco – almost forgotten today - was less lucky. He was appointed as violinist at the royal court in Naples in 1684, but returned to Palermo in 1691, and stayed there for about 24 years. He tried to find appointments at the courts of Vienna and Naples, but failed. In 1719 he travelled to London, where he participated in public concerts. In 1733 he went to Dublin, where he seems to have died in 1741 or soon after. Domenico suffered tribulations too. It was only after the death of his father that he felt completely free to follow his own path, although he had left Italy five years earlier, in 1720.
As this expansive (though not entirely as "complete" as promised) anthology reminds us, Comus' frightening musical visions surely represented the darkest side of England's late-'60s folk-rock movement. Like a Fairport Convention from Hell, the group pushed folk boundaries into alien progressive, psychedelic, and acid rock realms, capping it with desperate and macabre subject matter and warping all the genres involved (and numerous minds) in the process. 1971's disorienting, often terrifying debut, First Utterance, could have doubled as (and may have well inspired, in part) the soundtrack to Robin Hardy's The Wicker Man a few years later, given its recurring pagan themes and varied blend…