"This record (along with "Solo Concert") is Ralph's musical highpoint, in an impressive career as a jazz guitarist. Blue Sun is not really jazz, at least not as I understand the term. It is more like the composed works of Pat Metheny (Secret Story) or Steve Tibbetts (Safe Journey) without the percussion. This record sounds like a series of duets between guitar and synthesizer/horn. Playful and melodic on most tracks, it also moves into a quiet, reflective place where single notes seem to fall into a pool of deep silence. Ralph's skill with the guitar is well known, his only weakness is in his ability to compose engaging melodies. Here, there are no weak tracks, all the songs are lovelly and well worth repeated listening."
liberty janus | Seattle, WA USA | 10/19/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For more than 30 years, Ralph Towner has graced listeners with his absolutely unique musical personality. Towner always plays and composes Towneresquely, which to many of us is a consummate gift, and places him in the pantheon of great American artists pursuing their art outside the mainline of American popular music culture. Naturally, but still curiously, to others espousing the pure jazz party line, a magnificent recording like Blue Sun, with it's deep aching crystalline beauty, appears to be a superficial effort. The further from pure jazz an artist like Towner gets, and the more incisively he probes the emotional depths, the more the purist disregards his effort. All the more reason to embrace Towner's rich musical and emotional vocabulary and lift him up as a really vital representative of the individual soul at work.
It's all here: the amazing guitar voice with the tunings, the fingerings, and the phrasings, (American non-mainstream music has been gifted with guitarists, like Towner, of unique personality and skill); the economy and the rich spare depth (plus some fun) of Towner's electronic keyboards; the economical percussion; the occasional brass; and the Towner piano. Most artists long for a voice this unique. Embrace this recording as a seminal example of this man's work and as a rich emotional experience courtesy of a true American original."
Sounds somewhat ethereal , like a soundtrack for the Norther
loce_the_wizard | Lilburn, GA USA | 12/14/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Ralph Towner crafted his "Blue Sun" back in the early 1980s-a point that cannot be missed when listening to it now. Mr. Towner wrote all the songs and played not only his trademark guitar, but also piano, synthesizers, horns, and percussion. The result is a celebration of nuance and clarity that carries the listener to some place, perhaps real, where the sky is deeply blue and ice and frozen breathes sooth the soul.
The music sounds somewhat ethereal at times, like a soundtrack for the Northern Lights, as it swirls and meanders on the longest tacks Rumours of Rain but also conveys a sense of underlying urgency on the title track.
I have a few issues that keep me from crowning this recording with 5 stars, however. First, I simply dislike the track C.T. Kangaroo and almost always bypass it unless I'm listening to my vinyl copy of "Blue Sun." Second, the session does not hold up well to repeated listening for it sounds at times a bit too flat-as many solo recording sessions do-but whenever I do play this recording, I certainly appreciate Mr. Towner's great talents. "
Ralph Towner Blue Sun
Todd Schmeltz | Oak Harbor, WA USA | 10/14/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is really a great LP (I don't own the CD yet). I had the good fortune to meet Ralph after a concert at the Musicians Exchange in Fort Lauderdale in oh..? 1990 maybe. I met him and had him sign my album. He's a great guy, and it bears explanantion that he plays all instruments on this album! ...piano, Prophet 5 synthesizer, 12 string and classical guitars, french horn, cornet and percussion. Quite amazing -- no other musicians on the album! It's beautiful, quite Spanish, but quite American too. He's a tremendous talent. I feel very honored to have met him. He's a great guy, a nice guy, and a tremendous musician. I really recommend this album. The production standards on ECM records are very high indeed -- excellent sound quality."
J. Rich | 05/09/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Ralph Towner is probably one of the most amazing musicians I've heard in the past couple of years. Towner has been recording with ECM since the early 70s. His style is a blend of jazz, classical, folk, and world music. He studied classical guitar at the Vienna Conservatory of Music in his formative days. He has worked in a wide variety of styles everything from chamber jazz to avant garde to Indian classical music. His rise to fame began in the groups the Paul Winter Consort and Oregon where he wrote many of their best compisitions. Towner has grown tremendously as a composer and musician and is also a versatile musician playing piano, trumpet, french horn, percussion, in addition to his 12-and 6-string acoustic guitar playing. Towner is also one of the very few jazz guitiarist to specialize in acoustic guitar. Towner currently resides in Rome, Italy with his wife and is still recording with ECM to this day.
"Blue Sun" is a beautiful album. A unique blend of synthesizers, acoustic guitar, piano, and percussion. I think it's one his better solo albums along with "Diary" and "Open Letter." He plays all the instruments and overdubs them all. Each compisition is a world unto itself. I love the way the acoustic guitar and synthesizer blend together. It's such a beautiful sound. The music itself is very hard to describe, but I will say that "Blue Sun" is one of my favorite Towner albums. Anyone a fan of Towner's should already own this album. If you are new then this is a great place to start exploring.
You can't go wrong with "Blue Sun." If you like what you hear then try "Open Letter" and "Diary" next. Creative solo music like this isn't made anymore."