JazzTimes 10: Greatest Jazz Cameos on Pop Songs

Our choice of crossover moments to remember

Branford Marsalis on Sting’s “If You Love Somebody” 
from The Dream of the Blue Turtles (1985)

When Sting left the Police to start a solo career, few people expected that he would hire an all-star band of contemporary jazz artists, including Kenny Kirkland, Darryl Jones, Omar Hakim, and of course Branford. Even fewer people expected that he would let the band loose on his tunes and allow them to inform the arrangements. Branford in particular developed a close musical and personal relationship with the singer and soloed on nearly every song on the albums they made together, thereby introducing the gifted saxophonist to a whole new audience—while also alienating the Jazz Police, who accused him (naturally) of selling out.

Preview, buy or download The Dream of the Blue Turtles on Amazon!

Other Notable Solos:

Tom Scott on Paul McCartney and Wings’ “Listen to What the Man Said” from Venus and Mars (1975)

Larry Carlton on Steely Dan’s “Kid Charlemagne” from The Royal Scam (1976)

Kirk Whalum on Whitney Houston’s “The Greatest Love of All” from Whitney Houston (1986)

Originally Published