Terje Rypdal: Melodic Warrior (ECM/Ode)

 |   |  1 min read

Terje Rypdal: Song of Thunders
Terje Rypdal: Melodic Warrior (ECM/Ode)

We put this album here under "Jazz in Elsewhere" simply for the convenience of those who know Norwegian guitarist Rypdal's long career in that idiom. But a quick glance at the other performers -- the Hilliard Ensemble and a couple of orchestras -- tells you there is something a whole lot more ambitious going on.

Rypdal -- who brings his glorious sustain and delay style to proceedings, sort of Santana with restraint if we allow ourselves that -- has previously embarked on such large projects but this sets a new threshold.

The title piece -- a nine-part suite which includes a crunching three minutes of percussion, odd vocals and free-form guitar sonics alongside stentorian horns on the mighty Song of Thunders -- which is sort prog-classical and includes unearthly vocals by Britain's Hilliard Ensemble (who have worked with saxophonist Jan Garbarek, notably on Officium).

There are passages (in The Secret File) where you can discern the influence of Ligeti, and in others pure prog-rock when Rypdal comes into the foreground for some searing playing (the churn'n'sprint of My Music Reaches to the Sky). And there is also a sense of holy minimalism in other places when the mood comes right down to the empty choral hall at midnight. The section A Prayer is pure romanticism.

The second work here is the four-part And the Sky Was Coloured With Waterfalls and Angels, a much more impressionistic suite. Hardly surprising given it was inspired by a fireworks festival . . . although Rypdal keeps the fuse burning for quite a while before explosions scar the sky. And then it gets all moody and broody and tense again.

This album -- curiously not on the ECM New Series imprint which might have seemed its natural home -- is probably not for those who know Terje Rypdal's jazz work.

But if you spend any time on these pages at Elsewhere then this is perhaps an album of uneasy listening for you. 

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Jazz articles index

CHET BAKER REMEMBERED: The long journey into night

CHET BAKER REMEMBERED: The long journey into night

Trumpeter Chet Baker's death in 1988 was tragic -- but, at 59, he was lucky to have lived so long. A brilliant stylist whose work in Gerry Mulligan's piano-less quartet in the early Fifties --... > Read more

Joey Alexander: Countdown (Motema/Ode)

Joey Alexander: Countdown (Motema/Ode)

Indonesian Alexander is a child prodigy who caught the jazz world's attention as an 11-year old. He seemed a natural and had been weaned on his father's jazz collection. He played for Herbie... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Tedeschi Trucks Band: Revelator (Masterworks)

Tedeschi Trucks Band: Revelator (Masterworks)

Anyone who caught the husband and wife team of Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi in New Zealand recently were perhaps familiar with guitarist Trucks' impressive Allman Brothers/Eric Clapton pedigree,... > Read more

NORDIC DESIGN IN MELBOURNE (2015): Birth of the Cool

NORDIC DESIGN IN MELBOURNE (2015): Birth of the Cool

When John Lennon wrote Norwegian Wood in 1965, the song may have alluded to an affair he'd had but the title reference was very specific. It was to the fashionable Scandinavian design of the... > Read more