Andy Summers (guitar); Branford Marsalis (saxophone); Kenny Kirkland,
David Sancious (keyboards); Darryl Jones (bass); Stewart Copeland, Vinnie Colaiuta, Omar Hakim (drums); Mino Cinelu (percussion).
Producers include: The Police, Nigel Gray, Hugh Padgham, Sting, Kipper.
Personnel: Full Force (background vocals).
Audio Mixers: Charles "Prince Charles" Alexander ; Hugh Padgham; Neil Dorfsman; Simon Osborne.
Audio Remasterer: Dave Collins .
Audio Remixer: Sean "Puffy" Combs.
Photographers: Duane Michaels; Brian Aris; William Claxton.
Arrangers: Sting; The Police.
During two decades in the music business, Sting has always been about genre-busting. The Police imbued their reggae-influenced brand of rock music with a truly literary lyrical sensibility, distancing themselves from the Tolkien-tinged meandering which tended to pass for "thoughtful lyrics" in the seventies. The ill-advised sci-fi garb of SYNCHRONICITY notwithstanding, they brought vibrancy, imagination, and intelligence into the dumbed-down world of arena rock. THE VERY BEST OF STING & THE POLICE represents their work with unquestionably classic cuts such as "Message In A Bottle," "Can't Stand Losing You," and "Every Breath You Take."
On his own, Sting moved into the even headier realms, assembling a supergroup of young jazzers and further indulging the bookworm within. "If I Ever Lose My Faith In You" and "Englishman In New York" display the mellower, calmer Sting. You want erudite? The album's only co-writing credit is "Russians," based on a little something by Prokofiev. Closing with the hugely successful Puff Daddy remix version of "Roxanne," THE VERY BEST OF STING & THE POLICE provides an overview of his progression from schoolmaster to rock icon and back again.
Rolling Stone (11/14/02, p.93) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...The songs are sturdy and companionable....With efficiency and literary verve intact on every note..."
Q (4/02, p.137) - 4 out of 5 stars - "...These 18 songs attest to Sting's strike rate of hit singles..."
CD (1 Disc); Stereo
10 February, 2002
Branford Marsalis; Omar Hakim; Kenny Kirkland; David Sancious
Saw Sting in concert a few weeks back (surprisingly strong set with LOTS of Police-nuggets such as Bed's Too Big Without You etc.) and that lead me to revisit this album. This was rushed out in 1997 as a result of P.Diddy's monster hit "Missing You", sampling "Every Breath You Take".
"The Very Best of Sting and the Police" (18 tracks, 78 min.) is "politically correct" in that it brings an equal number of Police hits and Sting solo-hits (9 each). It has a lot of things going for it: first and foremost, much of the music is outstanding. Best of all is the inclusion of "So Lonely", a major hit which somehow was omitted from The Police's "Every Breath You Take: The Classics". This can directly be attributed to using the full extent of a single CD capacity. The sound quality is surprisingly good as well. What is very unfortunate is that all 18 songs are mixed and matched without any apparent rhyme or reason. Thus we go from the Police's "Can't Stand Losing You" directly into Sting's "An Englishman in New York. Say what? Or we go from Sting's "Seven Days" into the Police's "Walking on the Moon"! Why couldn't they simply present the songs in chronological order? That said, there IS a lot of great music on this CD. It's simply up to you to play it in an order that makes more sense and pleases the ear more.
I am more of a fan of Sting than I am of the Police - I was never too keen on their cod-reggae stylings - so there is not too much here that I am keen on. But some of the Police songs are pleasant enough (I like "Walking on the Moon's" bass line). Very best here means hits, so the Sting songs here are not necessarily the best he is capable of. More for the casual listener, but good on that score.
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