Exposé Online banner

Andy Summers — The Last Dance of Mr. X
(RCA Victor 09026-68937-2, 1997, CD)

by David Ashcraft, Published 1999-01-01

The Last Dance of Mr. X Cover art

What's this? Former Police-man Andy Summers fronting what is essentially a power trio? And with a backing band consisting of monster bassist Tony Levin and Gregg Bissonette on drums? Perhaps the lesson that we learn here is not to pigeon-hole musicians because Summers might surprise many of us with his chops and strong leads. We all know Andy Summers from his ultra-tasteful rhythm playing, but here he sounds more like Holdsworth than that guy who played with Sting. The material is evenly split between modern jazz standards (by the likes of Wayne Shorter, Horace Silver, Monk, and Mingus) and Summers' originals. The arrangements are what really make this a special disc, since it rarely settles for a "jazzy" sound despite the material. They are consistently inventive and the band takes distinctly different approaches to each tune. The trio plays almost telepathically, and the setting is ideal for showcasing Summers' clean chordal work and economical solo excursions. Having only heard some of Summers' solo albums since leaving the Police I must admit that I wasn't prepared for the strength of this one. Some of his earlier work featured some rather mushy new age approaches that simply didn't put his full talents in the proper light. He comes out burning on this one and really carries the album despite the fact that the trio format can be very demanding on the leader. Andy even reinforces the power trio comparison by quoting some Clapton licks from "Sunshine of Your Love"! This disc will appeal to fans of IOU or Road Games era Holdsworth, and will also play well with fusion and jazz fans in general. While his leads are not as blistering as a Holdsworth or Steve Morse, Summers more than makes up for that with his tasty chordal work and creative interpretations of some wonderful jazz tunes. This one might just take some of you by surprise...


Filed under: New releases, Issue 16, 1997 releases

Related artist(s): Tony Levin, Andy Summers

Latest news

2018-07-09
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more

2018-07-01
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more

2018-06-25
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more

2018-06-13
Jon Hiseman RIP – One of the great drummers of the rock era has died. Jon Hiseman was a veteran of such ground-breaking groups as Colosseum (I and II), Tempest, John Mayal's Bleusbreakers, and was a founding member of the innovative large band United Jazz + Rock Ensemble. » Read more

2018-06-05
Koenjihyakkei Seeks Funding for New Album – It's been quite a few years since the last new studio album by the amazing Koenjihyakkei. Now they are preparing Dhormimviskha for worldwide release, and they're asking fans to pre-order via a Kickstarter campaign to help it happen. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Jon Anderson - The More You Know – I knew there was something fishy about this CD when I looked at the song lengths - all are nearly identical. Pre-planned? Hmmmm, could be. After six solo releases since 1994, a vacation in Bermuda...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues