Basspiration Wednesday – 12/17/2014

I was a little late to the music of The Police, only picking up on things after the release of their 1981 album Ghost in the Machine. Like most of America I came to know them through the trifecta of music videos from that album for the songs “Spirits in the Material World,” “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic,” and “Invisible Sun.” I wore out my cassette copy of the album and eagerly awaited the release of the follow-up, Synchronicity. I also loved that album and even managed to see The Police live on that tour.

Then Sting decided he had done and seen enough with The Police and bolted for the less-constricting confines of a solo career. Enter Sting’s first solo record The Dream of the Blue Turtles in 1985 and with it, the Blue Turtles band — Branford Marsalis, Kenny Kirkland (R.I.P.) Omar Hakim, and Darryl Jones. As is obvious in the above video, this band cooked like nobody’s business. Of course I love that rhythm section of Hakim and Jones. So glad the Bring on the Night video captured them in all of their glory.

One additional thing: aside from the sheer 80s-ness of the clothing styles, nothing seems really amiss with this video. Sting handed the bass duties over to Jones, picked up a guitar, and away they went. However, if you read the interviews with Sting in 1985 it is amazing how often he had to defend himself against accusations that he was some sort of “British Uncle Tom” who had hired a bunch of “black jazz guys” in order to either urban-ize or legitimize his status as a “serious musician.” It really is ugly and striking to think that it wasn’t all that long ago.

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