Friday, July 16, 2010

Terje Rypdal - Bleak House

"Dead Man's Tale" very laidback minor-key blues tune with vibrato-rich guitar and organ and vocals (Terje) - similar in tone to the Zombies' "Time of the Season" but more laidback - some really tasteful and enjoyable solos by Terje and Reim (the organist), plus some breathy flute soloing by Terje - I do like this tune quite a bit "Wes" - an obvious guitar-and-bigband tribute to Wes Montgomery, with the intervallic guitar lines and all - I admit that I laughed when I first heard this track, not because it is a poor composition (which it most definitely isn't), but because of Terje's weak (to my ears) attempt at being a "swingin'-cat" jazzer. Hehe. But the tune is cool, the heads going from 4/4 to 5/4 to 3/4 in upbeat swinging fashion. "Winter Serenade" - this is a short freely-improvised piece that is apparently supposed to intonate "Falling Snow", "Snow Storm", and "Melting Snow", its three "movements" (without any breaks between them) - some nice improv by all, with great guitar doodling and wailing and fine pointilist playing by Garbarek, Reim, and trumpeter Johansen, amongst others - I really like this piece - a good break between the big band sounds of "Wes" and..... "Bleak House" - a triple-meter upbeat big band tune with very nice horn arrangement and some fine guitar work (lead and rhythm - you don't get much chance to hear his rhythm work very often) by Terje - some may prefer this tune over all others on the album - although it is quite derivative sounding, it is fun nonetheless - some fine drumming by Christensen - he and Terje really get down on the extended Im7-IV jams "Sonority" a lovely intro with flute, piano, and guitar with nice chords on horns actually this reminds me of some of the work of another big favorite of mine, Claus Ogerman and some of the most laidback and subdued guitar doodling I have ever heard Terje do, and I really like it."A Feeling of Harmony" imagine Terje trying to sound like Joao Gilberto or Dori Caymmi, etc. - the bossa nova craze was at its height in the early-mid 60s, and apparently Terje dug it (as do I) - here he is with nylon-string guitar and humming away with poor intonation, the whole silly bit. Why he decided to include this tune on this album is a mystery (unless he just wanted to demonstrate stylistic diversity), and it kinda stinks - this commentary from a lover of Jobim, Bonfa, Powell, etc. too! Haha. So, there it is - a fun album, even though all the pieces are not works of genius. My favorite tracks are "Sonority" and "Winter Serenade", but all of them (except the silly "A Feeling of Harmony") are worth hearing over and over again. - by Jeff Gower, from

Artist: Terje Rypdal
Album: Bleak House
Year: 1968
Label: Polydor (1999)
Total time: 33:09

1.  Dead Mans Tale 7:09
2.  Wes 4:18
3.  Winter Serenade 6:08
4.  Bleak House 7:07
5.  Sonority 5:23
6.  A Feeling of Harmony 3:01
All compositions by - Terje Rypdal

Terje Rypdal (Guitar, Flute and Vocals)
Jan Garbarek (Tenor Saxophone, Flute and Bells) - 2-5
C.M. Neumann (Alto Saxophone and Flute) - 2-5
Hans Knudsen (Baritone Saxophone) - 2,5
Knut Riisnaes (Tenor Saxophone) - 3
Frode Thingnaes (Trombone and Tuba) - 2,5
Oivind Westby (Trombone) - 2
Tore Nilsen (Trombone) - 2
Kjell Haugen (Trombone) - 2,4,5
Ditlef Echoff (Trumpet) - 2
Kare Furuholmen (Trumpet) - 2,4
Jarl Johansen (Trumpet) - 2-5
Froydis Ree Hauge (Horn) - 2,5
Odd Ulleberg (Horn) - 2,5
Christian Reim (Organ and Piano) - 1-5
Terje Wenaas (Bass) - 2-5
Jon Christensen (Drums) - 2-5
Tom Karlsen (Drums) - 1

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