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Terje Rypdal

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Terje Rypdal Bleak House album cover
4.05 | 17 ratings | 2 reviews | 24% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1968

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Dead Man´s Tale (7:03)
2. Wes (4:15)
3. Winter Serenade (6:04)
a) Falling Snow
b) Snow Storm
c) Melting Snow
4. Bleak House (7:05)
5. Sonority (5:21)
6. A Feeling Of Harmony (2:29)

Total time 33:05


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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

Arranged By - Knut Riisnæs (tracks: A2, B1, B2)
Bass - Terje Venaas (tracks: A2 to B2)
Composed By - Terje Rypdal
Conductor - Knut Riisnæs (tracks: A2, B1, B2)
Drums - Jon Christensen (tracks: A2 to B2) , Tom Karlsen (tracks: A1)
Engineer - Roger Arnhoff
Guitar, Flute, Vocals - Terje Rypdal
Horns [Horn] - Frøydis Ree Hauge (tracks: B2, B3) , Odd Ulleberg (tracks: B2, B3)
Other [Recording Supervisor] - Odd Løken
Piano, Organ - Christian Reim (tracks: 3, 5)
Producer - Terje Rypdal
Saxophone [Alto], Flute - Carl Magnus Neumann* (tracks: 2,5)
Saxophone [Baritone] - Hans Knudsen (2) (tracks: 2, 5)
Saxophone [Tenor] - Knut Riisnæs (tracks: 3)
Saxophone [Tenor], Flute, Bells - Jan Garbarek (tracks: 2, 5)
Trombone - Frode Thingnæs (tracks: 4, 5) , Kjell Haugen (tracks: 2, 4, 5) Tore Nilsen (tracks: 2) , Øivind Westby (track: 2)
Trumpet - Ditlef Eckhoff (track: 2) , Jarl Johansen (tracks: 2 to 5) , Kåre Furuholmen (tracks: 2, 4)
Tuba - Frode Thingnæs (tracks: 4, 5)

Releases information

Recorded on Oct 7th, 8th and 22nd 1968, at Roger Arnhoff Lydstudio, Oslo, Norway.

Label: Polydor. Catalog: 184 189

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TERJE RYPDAL Bleak House ratings distribution

(17 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(24%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(71%)
Good, but non-essential (6%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

TERJE RYPDAL Bleak House reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars Those of you who know Rypdal's usual works will be in for quite surprise with this debut album, Bleak House released in early 69 on the Polydor label, and it is quite different to his later works with the ECM label. Indeed, this album's line-up is mostly made from local Norwegian musicians (although I detect a few Danish or German names), of which only Garbarek and Terje are the familiar names to an international crowd. You'll also find some excellent (and rather unusual for jazz) Hammond organ, some vocals, and a fairly large horn section, used somewhat sparingly. Rather strange when you know Terje's late-70's albums, right?

The opening 7-mins Dead Man Tale is a mid-tempo blues loaded with Hammond's organ, Terje's lungs both belting out a soft vocal and an enchanting flute. He 4-mins Wes is more of a big band affair, with some massive horn section sounds, a Reinhardt-ian guitar and some enthralling rhythms. The three-parts Winter Serenade is in contrast a very different affair, so quiet in its Falling Snow movement, with only Terje's guitar and Reim's piano. When Garbarek and Neumann's saxophones enter the piece, chaos and mayhem appear, indeed hinting at the Snow Storm movement. The suite ends calmly as the Snow Melts gently with Reim's piano. Great stuff.

On the flipside, the 7-mins title track is an absolutely amazing mid-tempo big band piece, starting gently with the horn section providing great answers to Rypdal wild but restrained electric guitar. It's not long before the horns take up the whole back space, before Terje's guitar goes for some heroics, never too strident, leaving some space for Garbrek's dramatic sax solo, and then taking football all the way down the rest of the track to the end zone for an amazing touchdown. Fantastic stuff, even if you wished some slight chord changes in the brass arrangements. The soft big-band Sonority is a slow-paced gentle track, where Rypdal's sleepy guitar weeps gently from you speakers. Closing the album, Terje scats gently A Feeling Of Harmony all alone, his acoustic guitar, his sole voice and his gentle flute.

A little short an album, this generally overlooked album is one of Terje's less representative albums, but it doesn't make it anyless essential a listen. If one day you datre your buddies with a "blind" test, you might just find Bleak House will probably fill your own house with plenty of laughter and surprise.


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Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars This was Terje Rypdal's debut album released in 1968 as a 21 year old. He had already become a guitar hero of sorts as a teenager playing in THE VANGUARDS, but "Bleak House" would be the start of something beautiful. I was surprised at the variety on this record as Terje seems to be dipping his foot into many different waters. Avant-Garde, Jazz, Big band and Blues are all part of the party but we also get compositions and improvs too. By the way some of the guitarists who have pointed to Rypdal as an influence are Jeff Beck, Andy Summers, Bill Frisell and David Torn.

"Dead Man's Tale" is like a slow burn with slowly pulsating organ, a guitar line and a beat as vocals arrive before a minute. This is a bluesy number that is kept at a low boil. I can just imagine hearing this in a smokey bar back in the day. Terje solos tastefully 3 1/2 minutes in as it becomes all-instrumental to the end. The organ solos before 4 1/2 minutes in a fairly relaxed manner, then it's the flute's turn to solo a minute later. So good. "Wes" is a bright tune with plenty of horns playing over the guitar melodies. It sounds like an upright bass before 1 1/2 minutes. Good tune! "Winter Serenade" is a free-form track based on an idea from Rypdal. It's very low key with sparse piano and a subtle horn to start. It starts to get fuller 1 1/2 minutes in. This has an avant feel to it as different sounds come and go. We are in the heart of avant territory 3 minutes in. It's almost haunting after 4 minutes then it starts to wind down well before the 5 minute mark to become low key like the beginning.

"Bleak House" is a relaxed jazzy song with some nice drumming, guitar and horns.Terje starts to solo after a minute. Nice. Horns lead the way 2 1/2 minutes in as Rypdal steps aside. The guitar is back before 4 minutes as themes are repeated. Terje is ripping it up after 5 minutes. "Sonority" is a beautiful piece with atmosphere and some pleasant flute as well. The horns seem to breathe and exhale in wonder. Cymbals and other intricate sounds can be heard as the guitar is played tastefully. Check out the guitar and flute 3 1/2 minutes in as things turn more passionate. "A Feeling Of Harmony" is the short closing track with male vocal melodies accompanied with acoustic guitar. This is a catchy and enjoyable number. The flute replaces the vocals after a minute. The vocals are back late after the flute has stopped. i really enjoy this one.

While i'm not big on variety I really enjoy every song on here. Sure the best was yet to come but I highly recommend this one.


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