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The X Tracks

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Album Review

X Tracks: Best of Andy Summers covers the years 1997-2002, essentially his stint at RCA. If you haven't followed his post-Police career, you might be somewhat surprised at his jazz leanings. Texturally, he flirts with smooth jazz at times, but his penchant for dissonance keeps him out of that camp. There are a handful of original compositions alongside pieces by Monk, Mingus, and Wayne Shorter. Q-Tip's reading from Mingus' Beneath the Underdog on "Goodbye Porkpie Hat" does little to add to the tune, beyond differentiating it from Jeff Beck's version, but the way Summers handles Mingus' "Boogie Stop Shuffle" with an added horn section is great. Similarly, Sting's turn on vocals on the overdone "'Round Midnight" is serviceable, but the way Summers digs into Monk's bag of dissonance and crazy intervals on "Think of One" shows a deep understanding and feel for Monk's music. The Wayne Shorter tunes are beautifully done, and the album opens and closes with Summers in jazz power-trio mode, rocking things up just a bit (even quoting "White Room" in "Big Thing"). X Tracks: Best of Andy Summers is a good summary of his post-Private Music/Windham Hill years, and would make a fine starting place for someone interested in what Summers has been up to since the Police.


Born: 31 December 1942 in Lancashire, England

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

While Andy Summers is best known as the guitarist of the Police, he has since forged a successful and acclaimed solo career with new age-influenced contemporary instrumental music that, like his work with Sting and company, draws on his love for jazz and his fascination with creating instrumental textures. Born Andrew James Somers in Poulton-Fylde, Lancashire, England, on December 31, 1942, the young Somers (who later changed his surname to the more easily spelled Summers) moved to Bournemouth as...
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The X Tracks, Andy Summers
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