Rypdal/Vitous/DeJohnette: S/T (ECM 1125)
Terje Rypdal/Miroslav Vitous/Jack DeJohnette
Terje Rypdal guitar, guitar synthesizer, organ
Miroslav Vitous double-bass, electric piano
Jack DeJohnette drums
Recorded June 1978 at Talent Studio, Oslo
Engineer: Jan Erik Kongshaug
Produced by Manfred Eicher
Terje Rypdal/Miroslav Vitous/Jack DeJohnette joins its eponymous crew in a one-off trio date for the ages. Although billed as something of a Rypdal venture, the album is primarily a canvas for Vitous, who bubbles forth with all the viscous potency of oil from a crack in the earth. The bassist and Weather Report founder culls from that selfsame influential oeuvre his classic tune, Will" (a lilting and sentimental ride which made its first appearance on Sweetnighter), and pairs it with Believer," another original that is more Rypdal-driven. These two form the heart of a tripartite experience that begins with a pair of Rypdals. The first of these, Sunrise," floats in on DeJohnette's scurrying drums, spurred by the air currents of Rypdal's Fender Rhodes. Suspended plucking from bass stands out like heat lightning against Rypdal's grittier monologues. Overdubs balance out the spacious surroundings with their fallow echoes. The guitar dominates here, its trembling accents seeming to grab clouds by their collars and shake them until melodies come falling out in patchy storms. He scrapes his pick along the strings, as if tearing holes in the very fabric of space-time. With respectful stealth, his gorgeous chording in Den Forste Sne" manages to undercut the bowed bass, the latter recalling the tender songs of David Darling. This one is a stunner in its grandiose intimacy, accentuated all the more by Rypdal's low-flying passes. We end with a diptych of group improvisations, each the shadow of the other. Between the frenetic syncopations of Flight" and the pointillism of Seasons," we are given plenty of poetry with which to narrate our inner lives.
While, arguably, a pronounced variety of modes would have made this a stronger" record, it seems content in being the languid organism that it is, and constitutes another enchanting landscape deservedly hung in the hallowed ECM Touchstones gallery. It might not be the best place to start, but what a detour to be had along the way...