All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

20

Terje Rypdal: Bleak House

Karl Ackermann By

Sign in to view read count
Psychedelic rock was hardly a recognized genre in 1967 Norway, but it was where a self-taught guitarist, barely out of his teens, made a brief stop on his way to becoming a global force in music. Terje Rypdal recorded a single album with a group called The Dream that year. The group subsequently signed with Polydor Records and disbanded before recording again. It proved to be an open door for Rypdal as he stayed with the label under cover of his new band with Jan Garbarek and Jon Christensen. Bleak House was originally released in 1968 and now Round 2 Records has licensed the groundbreaking album for re-release.

A joint venture between Norwegian record store Big Dipper and an independent label, Jansen Plateproduksjon, Round 2 has a goal of re-releasing both classic and obscure Norwegian albums, on vinyl. Since 2015 the label has released a selective seven albums leading up to Bleak House which was culled from three live concerts that occurred in October 1968 in Germany. A number of Norwegian musicians make sporadic appearances including tenor saxophonist Knut Riisnæs and pianist/organist Christian Reim, a holdover from The Dream.

Side A opens with "Dead Man's Tale" a beautiful and bluesy piece that features Rypdal on guitar and flute, adding a vocal performance as well. Reim's Hammond organ reverberates with the sound of the British Invasion of the 1960s. "Wes" is Rypdal's tribute to Wes Montgomery, but more in spirit than practice. With ten horns participating, the number has a frenzied pace that owes much to Rypdal's mentor George Russell. Winter Serenade is a three-part suite beginning with "Falling Snow," a discreet duet with Rypdal and Reim. The "Snow Storm" movement is given some menacing life with the searing saxophones of Garbarek and Carl Magnus Neumann before Reim ushers in the tranquility of "Snow Melts." Side B begins with the title track, its scope and sound reflecting the 1960s changing jazz scene in Europe with a collective avant-garde swing. "Sonority" and "A Feeling Of Harmony" close the side with pulsating heat and light.

The reissue of Bleak House gives us a lot to unpack. From a historical perspective, it represents a bridge in the European transition from jazz-rock into their unique avant-garde/free jazz hybrid. For Rypdal—even at this early stage of his career—his incorporation of post-bop, fusion and avant-garde, into a cohesive album, was a peerless feat of imagination. Rypdal has always been a heady composer, capable of floating intoxicatingly discordant melodies, impressionism such as that on "Winter Serenade," or an unearthly sadness in his reflective pieces. Bleak House is a timeless and important recording and a pleasure to hear in this remastered format.

Track Listing: Dead Man's Tale; Wes; (Winter Serenade) Falling Snow/Snow Storm/Melting Snow; Bleak House; Sonority; A Feeling Of Harmony.

Personnel: Carl Magnus Neumann: alto saxophone, flute (2-7); Hans Knudsen: baritone saxophone (2, 7); Terje Venaas: bass (2-7); Jon Christensen: drums (2-7); Tom Karlsen: drums (1); Terje Rypdal: guitar, flute, vocals; Frøydis Ree Hauge: horn (7, 8); Odd Ulleberg: (7, 8); Christian Reim: piano, organ (1-7); Knut Riisnæs: tenor saxophone (3-5); Jan Garbarek: tenor saxophone, flute, bells (2-7); Frode Thingnæs: trombone (6, 7); Kjell Haugen: trombone (2, 6, 7); Tore Nilsen: trombone (2); Øivind Westby: (2); Ditlef Eckhoff: trumpet (2); Jarl Johansen: trumpet (2-7); Kåre Furuholmen: trumpet (2,6); Frode Thingnæs: tuba (6,7).

Title: Bleak House | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Round 2 Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Rediscovery
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Bleak House

Bleak House

Round 2 Records
2017

buy
Melodic Warrior

Melodic Warrior

ECM Records
2013

buy
 

Very Much Alive

Jazzland Recordings
2010

buy
Crime Scene

Crime Scene

ECM Records
2010

buy
 

Live in Leipzig

ECM Records
2008

buy
Vossabrygg

Vossabrygg

ECM Records
2006

buy

Related Articles

Read Mønk CD/LP/Track Review
Mønk
by Chris May
Published: September 20, 2018
Read The Music of Gary Lindsay / Are We Still Dreaming CD/LP/Track Review
The Music of Gary Lindsay / Are We Still Dreaming
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 20, 2018
Read Hidden Details CD/LP/Track Review
Hidden Details
by John Kelman
Published: September 20, 2018
Read Selective Coverage CD/LP/Track Review
Selective Coverage
by Jim Olin
Published: September 20, 2018
Read Fat Daddy CD/LP/Track Review
Fat Daddy
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 19, 2018
Read Short Stories CD/LP/Track Review
Short Stories
by Gareth Thompson
Published: September 19, 2018
Read "Back to the Sunset" CD/LP/Track Review Back to the Sunset
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 6, 2018
Read "My One And Only Love: Live at Theater Gütersloh" CD/LP/Track Review My One And Only Love: Live at Theater Gütersloh
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: May 11, 2018
Read "Art Zoyd - 44 1⁄2 At A Glance: Selections from the Art Zoyd Box Set" CD/LP/Track Review Art Zoyd - 44 1⁄2 At A Glance: Selections from the...
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 14, 2018
Read "Murals" CD/LP/Track Review Murals
by Anya Wassenberg
Published: June 6, 2018
Read "Old Soul" CD/LP/Track Review Old Soul
by Anya Wassenberg
Published: February 26, 2018
Read "Groovin' With Big G" CD/LP/Track Review Groovin' With Big G
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: July 4, 2018