Thursday, October 13, 2016

30th Anniversary of Andy Summers’ Down and Out in Beverly Hills Soundtrack

CD Retro Fan Review

In between his experimental collaborations with fellow guitarist Robert Fripp and the launch of his own solo recording career, Police guitarist Andy Summers had gone Hollywood by contributing to and scoring a few motion picture soundtracks, the most notable of them being Down and Out in Beverly Hills.

The first half of the album features famous pop/rock songs by artists such as David Lee Roth, Little Richard, and Randy Newman.

The rest of the tracks comprise the original score composed and performed by Summers and consisting primarily of guitars and synthesizers.

The music is vintage mid-1980s Summers and actually serves as a sonic bridge from his work with Fripp to his first instrumental solo album, 1988’s Mysterious Barricades. One of the tunes is even a retread of one of his Fripp duets, but without Fripp.

The real stunner here, though, is the main theme, which is reprised throughout in different ways. The jazzy, swinging title track features a laidback, mellow acoustic guitar melody over lush acoustic guitar chords, accentuated by keyboards, brushes, and saxophone. It sets the mood for the film’s whimsical comic pathos and also serves as a preview of Summers’ later solo work.

Regardless of whether or not you have seen and like the movie, if you’re a true-blue fan of Andy Summers’ guitar work, this is basically the unofficial start and an essential component of his solo discography.

--Raj Manoharan

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