If Andy Summers's gigs in the late 1990s fell short of expectations, Green Chimneys, his 1999 Monk tribute, showed great improvement, and the progress continues in this homage to Mingus. His line playing is still occasiona... more »lly a little halting, but he has some very respectable solos on "Opus 3," "Cumbia Jazz Fusion," and "Free Cell Block F." And there are also sterling contributions from Randy Brecker, Hank Roberts, Deborah Harry, and others. Above all, though, the album's success flows from the same arranging intelligence Summers brought to the Police 20 years ago. The old chestnut "Goodbye Porkpie Hat" is about the only suggestion of cliché, with a string quartet (courtesy of Kronos) arrangement of "Myself" showing the breadth of the leader's imagination. Fellow Policeman Sting showed an interest in jazz after leaving the service, but as this richly varied and entertaining set shows, Summers, free of the pressures of stardom, has been the one to more fully explore the music. --Mark Gilbert« less
If Andy Summers's gigs in the late 1990s fell short of expectations, Green Chimneys, his 1999 Monk tribute, showed great improvement, and the progress continues in this homage to Mingus. His line playing is still occasionally a little halting, but he has some very respectable solos on "Opus 3," "Cumbia Jazz Fusion," and "Free Cell Block F." And there are also sterling contributions from Randy Brecker, Hank Roberts, Deborah Harry, and others. Above all, though, the album's success flows from the same arranging intelligence Summers brought to the Police 20 years ago. The old chestnut "Goodbye Porkpie Hat" is about the only suggestion of cliché, with a string quartet (courtesy of Kronos) arrangement of "Myself" showing the breadth of the leader's imagination. Fellow Policeman Sting showed an interest in jazz after leaving the service, but as this richly varied and entertaining set shows, Summers, free of the pressures of stardom, has been the one to more fully explore the music. --Mark Gilbert
"Wow! What a departure from the other solo work by the former Policeman. The only album that would come close in terms of style and diversity would be Green Chimneys. I particularly enjoy the various sounds and moods that are represented through his guitar work. The opening track and track #3, Reincarnation of a Lovebird, are good examples of this. Deborah Harry's (Blondie) performance on Weird Nightmare is an example of a pop singer that can contribute to an outstanding jazz album. All in all, this work is certainly complex, contains a variety of sounds and ecelectic musicians, and should be purchased by anyone interested in Charles Mingus' music."
Very nice combination of jazz and jazz fusion
kireviewer | Sunnyvale, Ca United States | 09/21/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a CD of all Charles Mingus compositions. The sound is gorgeous. It is 64 minutes long (not 77 minutes as previously stated). My copy came with a cardboard sleeve around a standard jewel case. It is shame that it is very hard to find. I actually found my copy at a close out rack at Music For A Song (which is where I have found many wonderful out of print CD's).
This is a very nice mixture of jazz styles. It contains some traditional jazz, jazz fusion, and some discordant jazz. Some tracks just suddenly switch between the styles. With some artists, this mixing of styles comes off as a jumble mess. Here, Summers does a wonderful job moving between styles and setting up an unusual atmosphere.
It starts out with a trumpet that could have come from Miles Davis. There is a vocal track that sounds like Chick Corea's Light As A Feather days. Debbie Harry (of Blondie) sings a tradional jazz number (she is very good for the most part, but in a few places, she pushes too hard to sound like a traditional black blues singer). There is a spoken word track with Q talking over some nice jazz music. The last few tracks sound like a mixture of Frank Zappa's jazz and orchestral works.
I am writing my review based on the musical content and not comparing it to the original Charles Mingus performances of these compositions. That is because I am not that familiar with Mingus. But, this CD was prompted me to check out his work.
Summers Goes Jazz
Leafsfan2028 | magnolia, tx, usa | 09/10/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"A nice try and something different then I expected. If you like to take chances this might be worth a listen."
Andy Summers' Tribute To Charles Mingus
Chappa | Olympus Mons, Mars | 09/17/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The style displayed on "Peggy's Blue Skylight" couldn't have been more different from Summers' recordings with The Police! It's an awesome twelve-song collection of differing jazz styles. In addition to Summers on guitar, there's Joel Taylor on drums, Dave Carpenter on bass, John Novello on organ, Randy Brecker on trumpet, plus many guests who contribute an array of instruments such as cello, accordian, violin, percussion, and vibraphone. The album is a tribute to the jazz bassist legend Charles Mingus and was recorded in 2000 at "Fool For Love" studio in California. All compositions and lyrics are based on his original writings and each one has something memorable and unique about it.
The first song is "Boogie Stop Shuffle" that finds Summers utilizing a special effect on his guitar plus wah wah pedal usage. Brecker gets to add some phrasings on his trumpet as well. The rhythm guitar sometimes gives off a reggaeish vibe. Without a doubt, a highlight! Next comes "Tonight At Noon" that opens with a cool sequence before exploding into a pure jazz fusion number with an explosive ending as well! The mood shifts a little for "Reincarnation Of A Love Bird" displaying a much more traditional jazz style and includes some lyricless vocals from Geetha Bennett. Quite haunting stuff to say the least. Now comes one of my favorites here and that is "Opus Three". Again it's a traditional jazz number with very catchy melodies and excellent guitar and violin solos. Sounds like one those jazz jams that are played on the Weather Channel while they give the forecast! Track number five is "Cumbia Jazz Fusion". It's the shortest song on the album lasting only forty seconds. The melody has a latin flavor. Cool interlude where Carpenter's bass really stands out and now we go into "Remember Rockefeller At Attica" that also happens to have a latin vibe with very prominent percussion. Some lyricless scat singing is employed too but this time it comes from Alison Wedding.
The second half opens with the title track. Definitely a stand out. Summers has a nice atmospheric guitar sound and there's a melancholic feel to the melodies while Nick Ariondo shines on the accordian. "Weird Nightmare" is one of the two songs on the whole album that includes lyrics with a guest vocal performance by Deborah Harry from the new wave group Blondie. The other one is the medley of "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat/Where Can A Man Find Peace", but this time the vocals are delivered in a spoken manner by Q-Tip. Summers guitar playing really shines here. It's one of my favorites but check out Jeff Beck's own version from his album "Wired" (1976) if you can!
The lasts three songs are awesome too. "Free Cell Block F" is a stunning jazz masterpiece. There are haunting riffs and melodic themes that repeat in the beginning before it develops into a jam. Towards the end, a torrent of notes from saxophone and trombone comes rushing in until the final note. The gentle "Self Portrait In Three Colors" follows. In addition to playing guitar, Summers adds an electric sitar overdub playing some cool arpeggios. Listen carefully in the second half of the song as Summers also adds a guitar overdub that sounds a lot like Robert Fripp from King Crimson! The last number is the nine minute "Myself When I Am Real" that only utilizes the Kronos String Quartet to back up Summers' playing. A stunning listening experience this is! Of course it's awesome all the way through. Seems to be a combination of jazz and classical inspired music with some eastern and dissonant sounding passages as well! What a great way to end this magnificent album!
In a nutshell, this is an awesome jazz tribute album from Andy Summers. If you're looking for a great collection of jazz, then you won't be disappointed! Of course, if you like the album, then you should check out the originals, that's what I'm going to do! Thanks for taking the time to read! Later..."