I burned for when jazz took the sting outta The Police


Even though I unwittingly checked off the “jazz” box on the Columbia House subscription several years before – and everything about 8-Tracks ghosted the minute shiny, new CDs started arriving in “jewel boxes” – “The Dream of The Blue Turtles”  was the first piece of jazz music I owned and fell in love with mainly because everyone else did.

(Full disclosure: I also owned two jazz 8-Tracks from that original penny: Herb Alpert and Chuck Mangione. And I still rise and feel so good anytime I want!)

I was also the king of pain who passed on The Police at Painters Mill and then sold my Capital Centre floor seats to The Police “Synchronity” tour to take every breath at the beach in Ocean City two years earlier. I had no choice but to follow that call from Sting, owing him the debt of my post-adolescent, collegiate ear for his edgy, grown-up solo “jazzy” work.

It took me a few years and a few spins by my friend Michael Fountain to help me appreciate the finer points of “Moon Over Bourbon Street” and “Russians.”

If you haven’t seen the tour film “Bring On The Night” for this album or listened to the double live CD, please consider that homework. They bring these magical songs to life. I love this music, especially “We Work The Black Seam” and “Consider Me Gone.”

Sting has made a lot of hits. He is the hardest-working musician of my lifetime not named Springsteen. The Police were an incredible band. I love virtually every sound ever uttered by the former Gordon Sumner!

I shook his hand once at the Meadowlands, the final time The Police would play together for more than 20 years at the “Amnesty International” 1986 epic with U2 and Peter Gabriel. I will be showing all of my pictures from that show and a zillion others on Saturday during a Facebook Live at 4 p.m. in lieu of the Preakness. We need more storytelling during this pandemic!

I also once infamously impersonated Sting and played his role for three songs one night in March 1999 in the Bodeguita del Medio in Havana, Cuba with Andy Summers – and I’ll tell that one, too!

I chose “The Dream Of The Blue Turtles” for my “album a day, every day in May” #MusicalNes journey because of the sounds and soulfulness it opened up for my musical taste for the rest of my life.

Sting set me free, free to listen to smooth jazz.

You can’t control an independent heart…