Friday, June 10, 2011

DVD – United Kingdom of Ipanema, by Roberto Menescal, Andy Summers, and Cris Delanno

In the fall of 2008, shortly after the conclusion of the Police reunion world tour, guitarist Andy Summers was invited by Brazilian bossa nova guitar legend Roberto Menescal to join Menescal and Brazilian vocalist Cris Delanno for a concert performance of bossa nova classics and reinterpretations of Police hits.

The result is this beautifully produced DVD, which features the excellently shot concert as well as interstitial segments and a documentary in which Summers and Menescal reveal their shared passion for Brazilian music and the guitar amid the sights and sounds of Rio de Janeiro.

The program is of such high quality that it would be a perfect fit for PBS, but it seems to be available in Brazil only. Dusty Groove America occasionally stocks the all-region DVD.

Summers was the guitarist for the mega-popular rock band The Police, who were active in the late 1970s and early 1980s and reunited for a 30th anniversary tour in 2007 and 2008. Being a good decade older than his bandmates Sting and Stewart Copeland, Summers began his professional recording career in the early 1960s, playing for Zoot Money’s Big Roll Band (which later became the psychedelic but short-lived Dantalian’s Chariot), Eric Burdon’s New Animals, and Soft Machine. After formally studying guitar at Northridge University in California from the late 1960s to the early 1970s, Summers returned to England and plied his trade as a session guitarist for Joan Armatrading, Neil Sedaka, Kevin Coyne, and Deep Purple’s Jon Lord before achieving monumental success and international stardom with The Police.

After the dissolution of The Police in the early 1980s, Summers scored some Hollywood films (Down and Out in Beverly Hills, Weekend at Bernie’s) and recorded one rock vocal album before establishing himself as an acclaimed and accomplished contemporary instrumental guitarist across a variety of styles, including jazz, fusion, New Age, and world music.

One of Summers' upcoming projects is Spirit Garden, a collection of guitar duets featuring Summers and classical guitarist Andrew York. In addition to acoustic and electric guitars, Summers and York also play other instruments. The duo’s collaboration began on the title track of York’s latest album, Centerpeace, which is available now. More information on Centerpeace and Spirit Garden can be found at

For a good overview of Summers’ solo work, I highly recommend the following albums: Mysterious Barricades, A Windham Hill Retrospective, Synaesthesia, and The X Tracks. My personal favorite Summers albums are Mysterious Barricades, The Golden Wire, Charming Snakes, World Gone Strange, Synaesthesia, Earth and Sky, and First You Build a Cloud.

--Raj Manoharan

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