Down Beat - 1/96, p.424.5 Stars
- Good/Very Good - "...BLUE SUN is cinematic--a series of composed, beautifully realized scenes with warmth, atmosphere and beguiling hooks....a mature, sophisticated work, emphasizing well-crafted compositions but allowing windows for improvisation..."
Personnel: Mark Isham (trumpet, cornet, flugelhorn, programming); Lisbeth Scott (vocals); David Torn, Peter Maunu (guitar); Steve Tavaglione (tenor saxophone); David Goldblatt (piano, electric piano); Doug Lunn (electric bass); Kurt Wortman (drums).
Recorded at Conway Recording Studios, Los Angeles, California.
Mark Isham has encompassed so many stylistic directions on both his Windham Hill material and his numerous film scores, skillfully exploring ambient atmospheres, contemporary classical, electronic music, and dramatic orchestral compositions--that it is something of a surprise to hear him in a straight-ahead jazz context. Yet the consistently high quality that distinguishes most of Isham's work is in full evidence on BLUE SUN, a strong effort in the cool jazz mode that showcases the composer's considerable trumpet chops.
Isham's Miles Davis influence is readily apparent, but BLUE SUN is no mere retro-fest. This is crisp, sophisticated jazz that pulls the laid-back, heady feel of 1950s bop through a contemporary filter (there are touches of electronics throughout). Playing from tenor saxophonist Steve Tavaglione, pianist David Goldblatt, drummer Kurt Wortman, and bassist Doug Lunn keeps the technical quality at a consistently high level, and Isham himself sounds especially impressive, making BLUE SUN another winner from this multi-talented artist.