Mark Isham - trumpet and electronics; Doug Lunn - acoustic and electric basses; Peter Maunu - guitar; Michael Barsimanto - drums
In late 1997 and early 1998, film composer, trumpeter, synthesist, and sessionman Mark Isham hunkered down for some woodshedding at one of LA's premiere, discreet jazzspots with his combo the Jericho Project. Known primarily for his work scoring films—like Crash and A River Runs Through It, among many others—Isham fuses his cinematic sensibilities to his jazz chops and his strong desire to experiment with emerging forms, whether new age, electronic, or hip hop. The result is a giant rainbow of sound and vision—an aural equivalent to Cinemascope and Technicolor.
Assembling the same core of musicians with whom he collaborated on his tribute to Miles Davis, Miles Remembered: The Silent Way Project, Isham and Co. lay down some stellar, as well as some interstellar, jams. And though the Baked Potato in Studio City, California may not seem the likeliest of jazz hotspots, it is indeed where the serious gather to listen, as well as to work out new sounds.
Isham brings his ear for cinema to his own compositions. The laidback melody of "Can't Take It," starts things swinging nice and easy at this performance from March of 1998. As Isham riffs on horn, guitarist Peter Maunu fills in the soundscape with a wash of color, and drummer Michael Barsimanto holds steady throughout. Transitioning into "Someday," the rhythms get edgier, Barsimanto gets groovier, and Isham takes the horn riffing to the next level while incorporating sound-bites into the mix. "Technicolor" raises the bar with its full complement of color, sound, and texture, and its heady confluence of inspiration—from techno to house. Let's just say, you'll never hear "the slicing of a carrot" quite the same way again…
With echoes of jazz auteur Miles in the mix, thanks to Isham's evocative trumpet stabs and gorgeous melodies laid over the sculpted soundscapes (a la In a Silent Way), he pays homage to inspirers Davis and composer Joe Zawinul, the admitted masters of the jazz fusion form. But as he strives to reach new heights, Isham also carves out new spatial territory—"exploring strange, new worlds, seeking out new life" and boldly going where few jazzmen have gone before. It's jazz at heart, but more like "Jazz: The Next Generation."