Thursday, July 22, 2021

Andy Summers Brings on the "Night" with New Solo Album Due October 2021

Legendary Police guitarist Andy Summers will be bringing on the "Night" with his latest instrumental solo album, Harmonics of the Night, which is scheduled for release in October 2021.

This will be Summers' 13th original solo studio recording since 1987 and his latest work in a music career spanning just over six decades.

Harmonics of the Night will follow the August publication of Summers' first short-story collection, Fretted and Moaning.

--Raj Manoharan

Friday, July 16, 2021

Flood (2007), by Jon Durant

Jon Durant unleashes a tour de force of wondrous sonic environments and atmospheres and thrilling and exhilarating guitar sounds and solos. The result is one of the best jazz/rock fusion guitar albums ever produced.

Backed by Tony Levin’s deep grooving bass and Vinny Sabatino’s propulsive percussion, Durant lets loose on acoustic and electric guitars and doesn’t hold back.


If you love the guitar styles of Andy Summers, Allan Holdsworth, Robert Fripp, George Harrison, and Paul Speer, this album is for you.


--Raj Manoharan

Friday, July 9, 2021

Dance of the Shadow Planets (2012), by Jon Durant

Dance of the Shadow Planets firmly establishes guitarist Jon Durant in Andy Summers, Robert Fripp, Allan Holdsworth, and Pat Metheny territory.

Durant and his band dance across the various sounds and rhythms of the world, as well as some that are not of this world.


The music is global in nature, with an Eastern tinge thanks to the prominent tablas throughout. The result is an eclectic mix of cosmic and world fusion.


Other flavors in this melting pot of sound include bass (Colin Edwin), percussion (Jerry Leake), and violin (Caryn Lin).


One track that stands out in particular is the African-like “Boonyi,” which is kind of a cross between “Hardy Country” from Andy Summers and Robert Fripp’s 1982 album, I Advance Masked, and “Now I’m Free” from Andy Summers’ 2003 album, Earth + Sky. The slithery, electronic lead guitar is classic Summers and Fripp.


This is another fine showcase of Durant’s wide-ranging variety of guitar sounds, tones, and textures, conventional and otherwise.


--Raj Manoharan

Monday, June 28, 2021

Parting Is (2018), by Jon Durant

This is It! This is The One! Parting Is is to Jon Durant what Mysterious Barricades (1988) is to Andy Summers. An album of exquisite and extraordinary sonic beauty that pretty much sums up the essence of the artist and his art with just guitars and basses. (Summers’ acoustic and electric guitars on Mysterious Barricades are accentuated with David Hentschel’s keyboards and synthesizers, but the end results are pretty much the same.)

The most ethereal and enigmatic tracks on the album are "Clouds in Advance," “Before the Rain Falls,” “Return to the Departure,” and “Willamette Fog.”


"Clouds in Advance" sets the tone as Durant's "cloud guitar" approaches and permeates the immersive auditory environment. "Before the Rain Falls" recalls the gently blistering tones of Robert Fripp.

“Return to the Departure” exudes the spirits of Andy Summers and Allan Holdsworth with its piercing lone guitar lead over deeply resonant bass and lush synthesizer-like textures. “Willamette Fog” sounds exactly like what it suggests, but rather than murky and sinister obfuscation, the mist here is one of cleansing purity and clarity.


We need more guitarists like Jon Durant who continue to carry forward the legacies of guitar greats like Andy Summers, Allan Holdsworth, and Robert Fripp, but in their own unique voices, and we need more albums like Parting Is that expand and redefine the boundaries of what the guitar can sound like.


This is among guitar art of the highest order.


--Raj Manoharan

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Alternate Landscapes (2019), by Jon Durant

This album should have been called Alien Landscapes instead of Alternate Landscapes, because Jon Durant’s guitar sounds are literally out of this world!

In terms of its sonic feel, Alternate Landscapes falls somewhere between George Harrison’s Electronic Sound (1969) and Andy Summers’ Mysterious Barricades (1988).


If you’re going to fall somewhere, that’s not a bad place to land.


The album also recalls elements of Summers and Robert Fripp’s Bewitched (1984), as well as Fripp’s Frippertronics solo albums.


That’s an illustrious pedigree of sound, and Durant should be honored and privileged to be in such hallowed company.


In terms of the artistic and sonic possibilities of the guitar, this is essential listening and belongs in the collection of anyone devoted to the instrument. It is among Jon Durant’s finest work.


--Raj Manoharan

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Soul of a River (2020), by Jon Durant

Soul of a River is not your typical guitar-and-piano album, in terms of what such a record is expected to sound like, and especially in terms of what guitars are expected to sound like.

Durant uses piano to construct minimalist themes, motifs, and riffs that hook you and draw you into an immersive sonic environment enveloped by layers of pulsating, subliminal sound effects.


With his guitars, Durant creates atmospheres and textures that are reminiscent of Andy Summers’ albums Bewitched (1984, with Robert Fripp), Mysterious Barricades (1988), and The Golden Wire (1989), as well as Summers’ song “Carry Me Back Home” from the 1986 Band of the Hand soundtrack.


Durant takes guitar-and-piano music in exciting and interesting new directions, making him stand out from most of the rest of the six-string and 88-key pack.


--Raj Manoharan

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Across the Evening (2020), by Jon Durant and Robert Jürjendal

Progressive guitarists Jon Durant of the USA and Robert Jürjendal of Estonia team up for an international meeting of the musical minds that results in a first-rate work of ambient new age jazz fusion.

Rather than perpetrate a full-frontal assault with a preponderance of notes, Durant and Jürjendal instead conjure impressionistic and evocative sonic images that take listeners on an imaginative itinerary of immersive sounds.


Heavily processed guitar signals create an all-enveloping canopy of lush, ethereal tones that feature flourishes of luminescent leads, harmonic hooks, and entrancing rhythms.


Adding to the eclectic and expansive sound mix are choice seasonings of bass by Colin Edwin of the UK, trumpet by Aleksei Saks of Estonia, and percussion by Andi Pupato of Switzerland, giving the music more of an international flavor.


The album is very reminiscent of Andy Summers and Robert Fripp’s early 1980s albums I Advanced Masked and Bewitched, as well as Summers’ 2015 solo album Metal Dog. There are elements of Allan Holdsworth throughout as well.


This is a transformative and rewarding musical journey worth taking.


--Raj Manoharan