Aaron Hawkins has a sweet little analysis of Sting’s cover of Hendrix’s “Little Wing” from the classic …Nothing Like the Sun album:
- In addition to his work with Miles Davis (including the indispensible Sketches of Spain), Gil [Evans] and company helped out on what I still consider to be the perfect pop song, Sting’s cover of Jimi Hendrix’ “Little Wing.”
It helps that Sting really isn’t on the track that much.
I mean, ok, there’s the guitar solo by Hiram Bullock, right? Which jams. Then he fades out, Branford slowly builds up on the sax, and you can really hear the rhythm section (including the Gil Evans orchestra) in the back of the mix, making it quite clear they’re prepared to keep the groove going for as long as necessary.
Some people would claim the presence of the rhythm section disqualifies this from being a pop song. They are fools. Ignore them. And play it loud.
On that one album, Sting, with the heavy-load work of arranger Evans and a real jazz band, was able to bridge the gap between laconic orchestral pop and chamber jazz. He’s mostly sucked since then.
See Ed Driscoll’s review of Gil Evans bio here.