The 1985 documentary Bring on the Night chronicles the formative stages of the band assembled by Sting to play the jazz-infused pop of his first solo album, The Dream of the Blue Turtles. Director Michael Apted—who has won acclaim for documentaries such as his ongoing series tracking the lives of a varied group of Britons at seven-year intervals (most recently, 1991’s 35 Up) and Moving the Mountain (1995), a film produced by Trudie Styler, as well as such feature films as Coal Miner’s Daughter (1980) and Gorillas in the Mist (1988)—amassed 350,000 feet of film in his nine-day shoot, following Sting and his Blue Turtles from their rehearsals at a gorgeous French chateau to their opening performances at Paris’ intimate Theatre Mogador.
In addition to capturing the anxiety surrounding Sting’s first post-Police endeavor, Bring on the Night serves as a showcase for the brilliant young American jazz musicians who comprise the Blue Turtles band. Keyboardist Kenny Kirkland and saxophonist Branford Marsalis (who reportedly caused a familial rift by bolting brother Wynton’s classic jazz quintet to join Sting’s excursion into jazz-based pop) demonstrate their sublime musicianship throughout the film. Darryl Jones’ bass provides the band’s indispensable rhythmic foundation (Jones has since evolved from a Blue Turtle to a Voodoo Lounge lizard, as the bassist for the Rolling Stones). Omar Hakim’s drumming is simply incendiary, particularly (and fittingly) on his bravura solo, which brings the Mogador version of "I Burn For You" to a scorching crescendo.
While Marsalis’ effervescent wit steals as many scenes as his ascendant sax, this is ultimately Sting’s table (as one white-haired sage put it), and it is the blonde leading man who caps the film’s blend of Blue Turtle compositions and Police standards with a classy voice-and-guitar solo encore rendition of "Message in a Bottle." Indeed, only the forces of nature can upstage Sting in Bring on the Night. When Trudie goes into labor on the night of the second Mogador performance, Apted’s cameras are, sure enough, right there to record the debut appearance of Jake Sumner (Sting and Trudie’s second child) for the silver screen.
Samuel Goldwyn/A&M Films (USA)
Directed by: Michael Apted
Produced by: David Manson
|Vocals and guitar||Sting|
|Background vocals||Janice Pendarvis|
|Background vocals||Dolette McDonald|
|The Manager||Miles Copeland|
|and introducing...||Jake Sumner|
|Cinematography||Ralf D. Bode|
|Editing||Robert K. Lambert|
|Art Direction||Ferdinando Scarfiotti|