Sting and Chris Botti to headline the 2016 Dubai Jazz Festival

By Matt Micucci

Sting will return to Dubai next year after his 2015 sell-out gig at the Dubai Jazz Festival. This time, he will be performing with longtime friend Chris Botti.

The legendary British music icon Sting is perhaps best known for his unique brand of rock, which he created along with his great late seventies and eighties band The Police, along with drummer Stewart Copeland and guitarist Andy Summers. The band’s sound originated from punk, reggae and jazz, was considered one of the leading suits of the period in music known as the Second British Invasion.

Subsequently, he enjoyed solo popularity with a string of pop music hits that strengthened his legacy on the international music scene.

Jazz influence, however, always remained a constant influence in his work, from his very beginnings. In the early seventies he started his music career performing jazz in the evenings, weekends and during breaks from college and teaching at First School in Cramlington in North East England with the Phoenix Jazzmen, the Newcastle Big Band and Last Exit.

His first solo album in 1985, The Dream of the Blue Turtles, features several jazz musicians including Kenny Kirkland, Darryl Jones and Branford Marsalis. That same year, he was also nominated at the Grammys for Best Jazz Instrumental Performance.

There were several other instances in which Sting performed with a live band, and his hit for the remake of Sabrina by Sydney Pollock in 1995 named Moonlight was a full jazz track that ended up being nominated at the Grammys for Best Song Written for a Motion Picture of Television.

In recent times, he has turned his full attention to jazz, by composing, performing standards and adapting his own songs to fully fit the music style that helped shape him and remained a constant influence throughout his career. One of his highlight performances this year was at the Dubai Jazz Festival, which ended up being one of the most critically acclaimed performances of this year’s edition of the festival.

It has been announced that Sting will be returning in 2016, and this time around he will be joining another legend – Chris Botti.

The American trumpeter and composer is easily one of the biggest names in jazz today. Four of his albums have reached the #1 position on the Billboard jazz albums chart, and in 2013, his acclaimed album Impressions won best pop instrumental album at the Grammys. This victory testified his established reputation as a versatile musician in both jazz and pop, with his ability to fuse both styles together.

Chris Botti and Sting have been collaborating since 1999, when Sting contributed vocals to Botti’s third album for Verve, Slowing Down the World. This led to Sting inviting Botti to tour with him as a featured soloist in the Brand New Day tour, which lasted two years and culminated in All This Time, a CD/DVD taping and webcast performance from Sting’s estate in Tuscany.

Botti has gone on record as saying that his relationship with Sting helped change the course of his career.

Billed as Chris Botti featuring Sting, the concert will take place at Dubai Media City Amphitheatre on February 25, and it is a headline gig set to explore music by both talents.

Anthony Younes, CEO and founder of promoters Chillout Productions, who organize the Dubai Jazz Festival, said “It’s definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity to watch a stellar show by these two Grammy Award-winning artists.”

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