Review: Shaggy and Sting captivate New York’s Blue Note Jazz Club

Shaggy and Sting at the Blue Note Jazz Club in New York. Photo credit: Herman Canosa

On Thursday, May 26, global music superstars Shaggy and Sting performed a captivating album release show at New York’s iconic Blue Note Jazz Club.

This event was organized by Sting, who produced Shaggy’s latest studio offering, “Com Fly Wid Mi”, which features songs from Frank Sinatra’s songbook in a distinct reggae style, and they were joined by a section talented brass band which included such talented instrumentalists as Karl Wright on drums, Paul Nowinski on bass, Andy Bassford on guitar, Sydney Mills on keyboards, Rob Mathis on keyboard, Greg Lapine on saxophone and trumpeters Kevin Bachelor and Matt McDonald , among other talented musicians.

Sting praised the Blue Note Jazz Club for being a “historic place” and he shared that “the most important element of music is surprise”. “It’s a big surprise,” Sting admitted of his latest musical effort with Shaggy, where they successfully tackle some of the biggest hits from Frank Sinatra’s catalog.

Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Sting praised Shaggy for having the “same voice” as Frank Sinatra, noting his “baritone tenor,” and he shared how the idea for this concept album came to fruition.

Sting revealed that some of the album was made in Jamaica, as well as Miami, Florida (where Shaggy lives), but much of it was completed at Capitol Studios in California, where ironically enough , Frank Sinatra himself recorded some of his biggest hits.

Sting added that it’s the type of record that will make listeners smile, and rightfully so.

Shaggy opened his set accordingly with “That’s Life”, where he was able to draw the audience in from the opening note, and he immediately burst into a lively, mid-tempo version of “Come Fly With Me”. He slowed down the tempo on “That Old Black Magic,” which had a neat groove.

Shaggy pointed out that most reggae tunes have two chords, but these classic songs had at least five. “Me and Sting are allergic to boredom,” Shaggy said of the birth of the album.

“Fly Me to the Moon” was thrilling and he was able to give “Luck Be A Lady” a refreshing, nonchalant edge.

Halfway through the show, Shaggy invited Sting to sing on stage with him and Sting graciously accepted his invitation, and they performed “You Make Me Feel So Young”. Sting added that he was an “expensive background singer”.

It was followed by “Under My Skin”, which was pure bliss, and an added treat was hearing Shaggy nail “Angel Eyes” (one of Frank Sinatra’s more obscure tunes and rarities) and “Witchcraft ” live. Shaggy’s catchy rendition of “Saturday Night” was equally impressive.

“Com Fly Wid Me” sung by Shaggy (produced by Sting) is available on digital service providers by clicking here.

The verdict

Shaggy and Sting were outstanding at the Blue Note Jazz Club in Manhattan. It was an enjoyable night of Frank Sinatra music in a booming reggae and blues style. This show was a substantial indication that Shaggy’s “Com Fly Wid Me” is worth watching. Well done all around.

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