Terje Rypdal’s new recording is, in some respects, a continuation of the work documented on such albums as “Whenever I Seem To Be Far Away”, “Undisonus”, and “Q.E.D”. The emphasis is on Rypdal as composer. This side of Rypdal’s work has gradually been gaining ground since “Undisonus” received the “Work Of The Year” award from the Norwegian Composers Association in the mid-1980s; at the time, this was hailed by many as a signal of long overdue acceptance in Norway’s “classical” milieu.
Rypdal, though, is too idiosyncratic a musician, and his influences are too unruly and disparate, for him ever to fit comfortably into any one club for too long. As influences on his orchestral writing he cites Mahler, Grieg, Debussy, Ligeti, Stockhausen, Rolf Wallin, Finn Mortensen, and Arne Nordheim, but when he plugs his Fender guitar into his Marshall amp an altogether different set of role models hove into view, as allegiances to Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix and Steve Winwood – and others of the blues-rock pantheon of the 60s - become paramount. At a further remove, there’s also a third set of icons in the jazz world who have reinforced certain improvisational ideas – including guitarists Charlie Christian, Wes Montgomery, Kenny Burrell and Charlie Byrd. For more than 35 years, Rypdal, faithful to all his enthusiasms, has gone his own way, at times closer to one idiom or another, never really belonging anywhere. He has spent his life trying to synthesize or reconcile musical elements that most players would consider mutually and permanently hostile .
His Double Concerto is a further attempt at bridge building. Into his orchestral sound-world he imports, for the first time on an ECM disc, a second electric guitarist. Fellow Norwegian Ronni Le Tekro is Rypdal’s partner here, hard-rock leader/founder of the band TNT.
Rypdal and Le Tekro have admired each other’s work for many years now: Terje declares himself “stunned” by what he calls Le Tekro’s “machine-gun technique and special harmonics.” The TNT guitarist, for his part, praises the originality and the “volcanic aspect” of Rypdal’s playing.