Category: Sting

Sting – Bring on the Night

ARTIST: Sting                                      bring-on-the-night-2

TITLE:  Bring on the Night

YEAR RELEASED: 1986

CHART ACTION: #16 UK

SINGLES: None

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Probably the entire album if you’re a Sting fan, the songs at least…

LINEUP: Sting, Daryl Jones, Branford Marsalis, Kenny Kirkland, Omar Hakim, Janice Pendarvis, Dolette McDonald

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Sting remakes / remodels some tunes from the Police and his first solo album into jazz / fusion explorations. It works on some levels, but you have to be somewhat hep to jazz.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: If you like jazz, and liked the Police and Sting’s solo work, then this would be the perfect album for you. Taking the raw material, and performing them with some jazz hotshots of the time (Sting moves to guitar to allow Daryl Jones to play bass), there’s new life brought into these tracks.220px-stingnight

It really is brilliant on some levels. The opening track, a medley of “Bring on the Night” and “When the World Is Running Down…” features a great keyboard solo from Kenny Kirkland and a rap from Branford Marsalis, while Jones’ bass moves all over the fretboard.

 

However, (yeah, there’s a however), some of the tracks, the more maudlin ballads, don’t really work in this idiom. They really sound more like puffed up 80’s tracks than a true remake of the song. I don’t know if anything could really save “Children’s Crusade” for me, though.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Originally, this was an import only on vinyl, and it took a while to be released in the US

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No.

GRADE: B+:  Most of this works, especially if you’re a jazz fan.

Sting – The Dream of the Blue Turtles

ARTIST: Sting Sting_The_Dream_of_the_Blue_Turtles_CD_cover
TITLE: The Dream of the Blue Turtles
YEAR RELEASED: 1985
CHART ACTION: #2 US, #3 UK
SINGLES: If You Love Somebody Set Them Free (#3 US, #26 UK), Love Is the Seventh Wave (#17 US, #41 UK), Fortress Around Your Heart (#8 US, #49 UK), Russians (#16 US, #12 UK), Moon over Bourbon Street (#44 UK)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: I mean, that’s half the record up there, not counting “We Work the Black Seam” which was a German single.
LINEUP: Sting, Omar Hakim, Darryl Jones, Kenny Kirkland, Branford Marsalis, Dollette McDonald, Janice Pendarvis
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Sting’s first solo album breaks away from the classic Police sound, going to a contemporary (and now dated) jazz-pop sound and feel.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: He’s serious, you know. Or not so serious, depending on the song. But mostly serious. From the mawkish pretensions of “Russians” to the reggae-lite “Love Is the Seventh Wave” to the easy-to-digest “If You Love Somebody Set Them Free” Sting covers the gamut adding just a touch of levity once in a while into his very serious work.

The musicians Sting chose were very talented jazz musicians, but they added a very 80’s light pop jazz sound to the proceedings, which leads to a song like “Children’s Crusade” full of keyboard horns and soprano saxophones sounding way overproduced that takes away from the seriousness of the song. Also, there’s no reason that he should have revisited “Shadows in the Rain”, which the Police did in a very spare dub-like arrangement. Here, it sounds like an upbeat Matthew Wilder song – not really befitting the subject matter.

He still knows his way around pop hooks, and creepy-sounding love songs. It’s effective in small doses, but the dated sound and production makes it rather non-essential as a whole.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The musicians Sting used were all part of Wynton Marsalis’ band, so they knew their stuff.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No.

GRADE: C+: A left-right combo of 80’s production and ill-fitting arrangements doom this to the ‘meh’ file. There is some good material, but the arrangements hinder your enjoyment of this. I exiled about half of it.