While Sting is usually regarded as a pop musician, his music does show a heavy helping of jazz influences in terms of harmonization and structure. In their third album, the Italian group Jazz Fantasy has capitalized on these influences to produce their own interpretations of Sting’s compositions, both from his time with The Police and his solo career. The trio is joined by Andy Schnoz on guitar, Franco Ambrosetti on trumpet and Marco Gotti on sax and clarinet.
One theme common in all of the tracks is the harmonic layering done by the trio. In the opener, Dominique Miller’s "Shape of My Heart", pianist Michele Giro begins with a plaintive piano line that invites Norbert Dalsass’s bass to join in. Roman Hinteregger then adds chimes and cymbals to the mix, giving the sound more texture and depth. Gradually the tempo speeds up to a light latin feel that Giro and Dalsass solo over. The solo section ends with Giro and Hinteregger trading phrases before suddenly dropping back to the opening melody.
On the tracks including the horn players, the trio turns into more of a rhythm section supporting the soloist. In "Moon Over Bourbon Street", Ambrosetti takes the melody line while Dalsass walks and Hinteregger swings behind him. Ambrosetti’s tone is perfect for the setting, pure and simple with few embellishments other than a lingering vibrato. Things heat up in the solo section and the trio gets more creative with their backgrounds. Dalsass takes a nice bass solo as well. Ambrosetti has another good run on "Perfect Love.... Gone Wrong", which is done in a medium swing, changing styles to a grittier and more intense sound.
Some of the other tracks show more interaction with the soloist, such as "Heavy Cloud No Rain", which is done in a sparse, abstract style with a funk beat. Schnoz’s guitar takes the melody this time, using lots of distortion. Hinteregger uses many asymmetrical rhythmic patterns, but still manages to keep the time tight. Giro adds percussive hits on the piano to help keep things in line as well.
Throughout the album, there is a high level of musicianship, even if communication between musicians is at times lacking. All the tracks, fast or slow, are rhythmically and melodically tight. For Sting fans and not alike, this album is a good addition to your listening library.