Q&A:  Andy Summers

Q&A: Andy Summers

July 19, 2010 Off By The Jazz Messenger

Andy Summers has largely charted his own course as one of the most popular and successful musicians of the past 30 years. Best known as the innovative guitarist behind The Police, Andy has since produced a body of work that stands on its own. From early collaborations with Robert Fripp, (I Advance Masked, Bewitched) through striking solo terrain, (The Golden Wire, World Gone Strange), Summers has consistently challenged himself expanding his musical palette while also consistently evolving his virtuosic guitar playing. Three of his more jazz influenced recordings are The Last Dance Of Mr. X, Green Chimneys: The Music Of Thelonious Monk and, our favorite @ Jazz Online, the Mingus tribute recording Peggy’s Blue Skylight.

How or when did you first “discover” jazz?
Listening to Django Reinhart when I was twelve.

Do you remember the first recording you ever purchased (jazz or otherwise)?
Apaché by the Shadows

Tell us about your recording Peggy’s Blue Skylight.
It’s a tribute to Mingus. It is an idiosyncratic interpretation of some Mingus tunes that I like in particular.

How do you differentiate Peggy’s Blue Skylight from other Mingus tributes?
I suppose what makes mine “different” is obviously the use of the guitar, hip-hop rhythms and generally a non-generic view of his music.

Having spent a good number of successful years in the pop world, how does your experience in the jazz world differ?
I don’t think about the differences, I think about the main thing, which is communicating with an audience.

What do you want people to get from your music?
I try to make the music come from the right place and whatever happens – happens.

Who is one of your greatest musical influences and why?
Charles Mingus among others, because of the great depth of feeling in his music.

Name one of your all time favorite, never tire of hearing, jazz recordings?
Crescent by John Coltrane

What is your favorite escape?
An afternoon on Hampstead Heath

If your life came with a theme song, what would it be?
“Que Sera Sera”

If you could have three wishes, what would they be?
One more.

Peggy’s Blue Skylight
Green Chimneys
The Last Dance of Mr. X

Andy Summers