Andy Summers’ latest album – his first with a band in nearly a decade (aside from The Police) and his first with vocals throughout (although not his) since his 1987 solo debut – is an excellent addition to his catalog.
The songs, written by Summers with the exception of the non-English lyrics on about half of the album, are a mix of bossa nova, pop, rock, and jazz, and are sung by popular Japanese-Brazilian singer-songwriter Fernanda Takai, whom Summers met while working on the United Kingdom of Ipanema concert/documentary DVD with Brazilian guitar legend Roberto Menescal.
Takai’s warm, sultry vocals blend perfectly with Summers’ typically brilliant and complex fusion guitar leads, rhythms, and solos, and the balanced sound mix allows both the vocals and the guitars to shine without drowning each other out.
In addition to acoustic and electric guitars, Summers plays keyboards and synthesizers, and his tight, solid band includes longtime collaborator Abraham Laboriel Sr. on bass and Marcos Suzano on drums and percussion.
Every track is wonderful, but my absolute, instant favorite is “Falling from the Blue.” This is what The Police might have sounded like if Takai were the vocalist instead of Sting (I’m sure Sting still would have been the bassist). Luckily for Sting, Takai was just a little girl when The Police first came together.
The melting pot of musical cultures and the outstanding performances of everyone involved make this an exhilarating and rewarding listening experience. Andy Summers’ fans certainly will not be disappointed.