Terje Rypdal –‘ Bleak House’ reviewed

❉ A welcome reissue of  Rypdal’s rare 1968 solo album featuring Jan Garbarek.

Remastered from the original tapes and with liner notes written by Rob Young (The Wire, Electric Eden), here’s a very welcome reissue of 1968 sessions from Norwegian guitar legend Rypdal, caught on the cusp of transitioning from his earlier psychedelic work into full-blown jazz.

Recorded over three sessions in 1968, Bleak House marks Terje Rypdal’s departure from psychedelic group The Dream and off to explore further territories. He would later become one of the most recognisable instrumentalist in European jazz, with releases on the ECM label filled to the brim with his searingly exciting future-tundra guitar sounds.

Featuring Jan Garbarek on flute and saxophone, horns and Hammond Organ, this has similar vibes at times to work by contemporary jazz-soul artists, but can then swing into distinctly European and Latin modes. Brian Auger-ish vocal blues even makes an appearance in the title track.

Rypdal hasn’t yet fully matured into his own style, his playing here owing much to Wes Montgomery, but that doesn’t detract from the individuality infusing this very warm and welcome set that isn’t bleak at all.

The out of print CD is selling for between 25 and 300 quid with every prior vinyl edition safely in the hundreds, which makes this a very welcome reissue. Plus there’s almost no Rypdal streaming on services such as Spotify or Tidal (certainly none of his albums under his own name), so any of his music re-entering the marketplace is a fab proposition, and the fact that it’s the laid back, groovy, smoky and friendly not-so-Bleak House is even better.

Track listing: 

Side A
Dead Man’s Tale (7:03)
Wes (4:15)
Winter Serenade (6:04)
a. Falling Snow
b. Snow Storm
c. Melting Snow

Side B
Bleak House (7:05)
Sonority (5:21)
A Feeling Of Harmony (2:29)


Terje Rypdal –‘ Bleak House’ is released on September 29, 2017 by Round 2 Records. Also available as a limited edition purple vinyl release . Click here to pre-order!

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