Jack DeJohnette – “Rypdal, Vitous, DeJohnette” by Grant Stoner
My album pick for this month is untitled with just the musician’s names. Jack DeJohnette, Miroslav Vitous and Terje Rypdal ECM records 1979 vinyl. Yes, another ECM review, sorry but it’s my favorite record label for great sound and deep listening. This particular offering is a bit, outside, you might say, not really songs, but sonic sculptures. Jack is riffing on drums, keeping time but no toe tapping beat. Miroslav is frequently bowing and sometimes plucking meandering bass lines. Terje is adding mournful, soulful, lead electric guitar, guitar synth and organ sounds. So this isn’t music you’ll be humming in your car later on.
But it is fantastic and beautiful. It breathes in and out from solitude to crescendo, but doesn’t overpower. And the sound, well the sound is fantastic. Crystalline pure with great imaging and clarity. Jack’s cymbal work is especially amazing, and the texture of stick and cymbal contact is extraordinary. Miroslav’s bass is warm and soothing in a melancholy way. Terje’s volume swells and textures transfer you to another dimension.
If you’re so inclined, pair with a Manhattan, or a deep rich Syrah or Cabernet and prepare to lose yourself in the music. Don’t let the “ outside “ scare you away. It’s truly a landmark record.