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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful album, 3 Nov 2012
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This review is from: The Last Dance of Mr.X (Audio CD)
I bought this following a recommendation from Amazon UK reviewer Julian Stevens, and I'm highly delighted I did. Please see Julian's expert review for fuller details. If you are a jazz enthusiast like I am, you may wonder what interest you might find in a recording by a pop guitarist. The answer is plenty. The first 'heavy metal' type track (Big Thing) reminds me of my favourite heavy metal album - John McLauglin's `Trio of Doom'. There is no better. I like all the tracks, but my number 1 has to be his wonderful improvisation on the Mingus tune `Goodbye Pork Pie Hat' at the end. Deeply felt and lovely to listen to. A 5 star no brainer.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars His tour de force, 13 Dec 2006
By 
Julian Stevens (BRISTOL, UK United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Last Dance of Mr.X (Audio CD)
A most interesting yet, on first acquaintance, seemingly self indulgent album based almost entirely on just electric guitar (there's some acoustic in the background on tracks 2 and 11), Tony Levin on (presumably his monster three string fretless) electric bass and, on drums, an exceedingly nifty fellow called Gregg Bissonette who, back in the late nineties, seemed to be getting about all over the place. This album is, however, much more than an indulgence.

Recorded in just over a week, mostly in LA, using HDCD encoding (which certainly does work), the tracks are a mix of AS originals (four, plus one co-written) and earlier compositions from the likes of Wayne Shorter, Mongo Santamaria and Thelonius Monk, arranged magnificently in a fully contemporary setting. Much virtuosity is in evidence here, for example the cover of Horace Silver's Lonely Woman, which bears comparison with the remarkable version on Pat Metheny's 1984 album Rejoicing (though Billy Higgins' amazingly ambient, bloomy wash of brushed cymbal sound remains unsurpassed).

For some reason, the opening track was recorded in NYC, with his then touring rhythm section comprising (Keiko Matsui's) Bernie Dresel on drums and (Wishful Thinking's) Jerry Watts on bass and, although it takes a good few hearings to fall into place with what follows, it's grown on me big time, including as it does a shameless rip-off of the central riff from the Cream's Sunshine Of Your Love.

Though bearing in places faint echoes of it, this certainly isn't a continuation of 1991's (brilliant) World Gone Strange, being somewhat more sombre (in places) and introspective, though not without its joyfully light and airy moments as well. Mind you, it isn't easy listening either, though this is simply because the arrangements and their execution are so very accomplished and immaculately executed that they simply can't be ignored as background swash. Fave tracks are Afro Blue (by Mongo Santamaria) and Footprints (by Wayne Shorter), the latter containing some superbly crisp, fiery and fluid drumming overlaid by furious Robin Trower-like guitar work (better, in fact) and underpinned by Levin's fluidly restless, roving and awesomely potent bass lines. And in amongst all this, AS' own compositions are verging on the wondrous as well.

To carp, I suppose one might wish for a bit more colour in the form of perhaps some Hammond B3 organ, but this is a failing of the most trivial insignificance. A near total masterpiece of an album really and all the more praiseworthy considering how long he's been around, including stints with the Animals in their later incarnation and, of course, with The Police.

The sheer range of styles and sounds of Mr Summers' guitar playing is superb as well, though not to the extent that the album overall sounds in any way disjointed or uneven. Quite the contrary, in fact ~ this is a wonderfully coherent and cohesive work from a true master of his instrument, quite the best of all his albums that I've yet heard. There's absolutely nothing wrong with his work as a member of the Police, but The Last Dance of Mr X is, by comparison, in a whole other league of excellence and, sad to say, many people will never even know of it. But then it is jazz I suppose and, to many people, jazz is a closed book ~ they don't know what they're missing. This is one of the very best albums in my collection built up over 40 years and my absolute best album by a guitarist of any hue. Definitely one of my desert island discs. It wouldn't surprise me at all to learn that it's much admired by many other guitarists of equally high repute.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Skewed Jazz' is great!, 2 May 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Last Dance of Mr.X (Audio CD)
Mr X is mainly compositions by Summers himself and on the whole they are very diverse, but all very intricate. Summers' phrasing is as good as it gets. Highlights are ...Mr X, Porkpie Hat and the marvellous Rumplestiltskin.
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The Last Dance of Mr.X
The Last Dance of Mr.X by Andy Summers (Audio CD - 1997)
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