Riding on the coat tales of The Police reunion tour, Stewart Copeland releases an anthology (Koch Records) of his work from his long illustrious solo career. “Roughly chronological, ‘The Anthology’ starts with the callow charm of Klark Kent, and ends up with some of the slicker things that I have figured out after four decades of my obsession with music.” Says Copeland in a recent statement.

The disc kicks off with a track from Copeland’s first side project from The Police disguised under the pseudonym, Klark Kent. On “Too Cool For Calypso”, you can hear a distinct upbeat progressive/punk style, which was prevalent in Copeland’s work with The Police and in some of his film scoring work too. An interesting Klark Kent track choice for it was the single “Don’t Care” that actually entered the UK single chart back in 1978 and had some US radio airplay time as well.

Jump to 1983, Francis Ford Coppola recruits Stewart to write the soundtrack for the movie Rumble Fish, thus igniting Copeland’s soundtrack career. First up is the theme song to the film, “Don’t Box Me in” which Stewart recorded with Stan Ridgeway (Wall of Voodoo fame) and earned Copeland a Golden Globe nomination for Best Score. Stan’s unique voice and quirky style matches well with Stewarts and proved to be a minor hit for the two. Stewart and Stan worked on other soundtracks together such as Simpatico and Pecker but those scores aren’t represented in this collection. Hmmm?

Next are two tracks from Copeland’s 1985 release, The Rhythmatist, the product of his musical pilgrimage to Africa. “Koteja” contains African beats and rhythms influenced from his visit. While “Serengeti Long walk” still bear his signature punk/ rock sound as the lyrics tell the African story.

Most of the other tracks are notable film scores including Oliver Stone’s Wall Street and Peter Berg’s Very Bad Things in addition to acclaimed projects like the Emmy nominated Dead Like Me, and West Beirut.

Two tracks from the documentary The Leopard Son by legendary photographer Hugo Van Lawick are included. “Mud Lions” is a good example of Stewart’s orchestral style with overlay of his classic set drumming and “childhood Friends” is notable for Stanley Clarke’s double bass. And, speaking of Clarke why didn’t any Animal Logic (Clarke, Copeland and Deborah Holland) tracks end up on the Anthology? This was Stewart’s first group effort since The Police and both Animal Logic albums were critically well received.

And since we are on the subject of group efforts, only one track appears from his Trey Anastasio/Les Claypool collaboration: Oysterhead. Notable though are Copeland’s Italian projects: an excerpt from the Notte Della Taranta festival which he performed back in 2003 and “Big Drum Tribe” (originally written originally for Jeff Beck) with GIZMO including Vittorio Cosma, Armand Sabal-Lecco, Phil X and Mauro Refosco.

Copeland is known for his precise, energetic, and creative rock drumming along with reggae and other world beat styles and they are well represented in this collection. The Anthology is a good overview of his solo work, although I think a double album would have been more comprehensive to fill in some of the missing gaps. But, it does include 10 never before US and Canada released tracks, which is a nice bonus and reason enough to check out this CD.

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