CMP 1995 / Esoteric 2014
Ex-POLICE-man engages several sensory paths in a fusion environment with two famous sticksmen whose initials are “GB”.
Even in his most famous band, Andy Summers’ inclinations were the least commercial – he contributed only about a handful of pieces to the POLICE canon, including the Grammy-winning instrumental “Behind My Camel” – so it hardly was a surprise that, once solo, the guitarist took a varied, sometimes experimental path either on in the company of kindred spirits Robert Fripp and John Etheridge or on his own. This album signalled Summers’ slight return to fusion idiom and could have find favor with both jazz and rock fans, if his label didn’t cease to exist. “Synaesthesia” remains a viable entity, though, featuring some highly impressive compositions such as the title one and bonus “Triangles” which see Andy play classical piano to complement his six-string drone, and opener “Cubano Rebop” barely containing energy within its harmonic crawl and cartoonish march.
The vigor of it, of the gamelan-like “Umbrellas Over Java” where Summers runs an acoustic bass, and of most of the other tracks, is underpinned with muscular, and sensual, drumming courtesy of Ginger Baker, although it’s Gregg Bissonette who supplies the groove for the rocking twang and swirl in “Monk Hangs Ten”. There’s an orchestral heaviness to the funereal “Meshes Of The Afternoon” that alternately rolls and rages over Mitchel Forman’s keyboards backdrop – a typical David Hentschel production – and a fluttering levity to the melancholically sustained, liquid lines of “Low Flying Doves”, while the sheer bare bone beauty of “I Remember” made Andy re-record it as a song later on.
Basically, the guitarist could do so with every piece on offer: they’re so lyrical as to affect the listener on many a level, just as the album’s title suggests.