A solid return from the songwriting legend...

With one of the most impressive bodies of work both as a solo artist and as front man of The Police and with over seven million (!) monthly listeners on Spotify, Sting continues to demonstrate his musical acumen and clout as one of the UK’s top male vocalists and songwriters.

'Duets' takes a retrospective and reflective look at his work collaborating with other guest artists over the last twenty years featuring the likes of Eric Clapton, Annie Lennox, Herbie Hancock, Mary J. Blige and Shaggy amongst others. Sting has never shied away from creative diversity, spanning different genres, and showcasing artists who wouldn’t necessarily have a platform for a more traditional mainstream audience such as a lesser-known talent like Algerian raï artist Cheb Mami.

A handful of guests make their contributions instrumentally such as jazz trumpeter Chris Botti on ‘In 'The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning’ and Herbie Hancock lends his incredible keys to a heart- warming interpretation of the show tune ‘My Funny Valentine’.

Each track needs to be appreciated individually as a singular piece of work that takes on a life of its own and embodies the character of its guest performer. One of the highlights must be ‘Rise & Fall’ with the fantastic Craig David which was originally released in 2002 featuring a sample of Sting’s 1993 track ‘Shape Of My Heart’. The bluesy Grammy award winning sultry groove ‘It’s Probably Me’, with rock legend Eric Clapton is also a standout track.

There are new additions to his collection which were recorded remotely in lockdown such as ‘September’ where he collaborates with Italian singing icon Zucchero, and ‘Little Something’ with Melody Gardot which was released in 2020.

Spanning an array of genres including worldbeat, jazz, classical, blues, rock and new-age, 'Duets' is an solid collection from one of the UK’s most prolific singer-songwriters.

6/10

Words: Emma Harrison

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