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Fellow musicians pay tribute to Terje Rypdal


Various Artists, "Sky Music: A Tribute to Terje Rypdal" (Rune Grammophone).

One of the most radical distortions in the ongoing life of jazz worldwide is the lack of a proper international reputation for the magnificent Norwegian guitarist Terje Rypdal. If he had only toured America with as much ballyhoo as the other great jazz-rock masters -- John McLaughlin, for one -- he would have, with the general musical public the gigantic reputation that he's long had among fellow musicians.

He may not be a "people's guitarist" on the this side of the pond but you can't listen to this without unmistakable evidence that he's very much a premiere "guitarists' guitarist" on both sides of the Atlantic. Americans Bill Frisell, David Torn, Jim O'Rourke, and Nels Cline contribute to this disc whose lion's share of guitarists are powerhouse Scandinavians. Joining Cline in Rypdal's "What Come After" is cellist Erik Friedlander to complete the impressive guest roster.

The whole thing was conceived by American guitarist and lifelong Rypdal fan Henry Kaiser as a 70th birthday tribute in honor of the event that was celebrated at the end of August. If we can't have a major, big-noise American tour by Rypdal, we've got those many decades of astonishing records on ECM and now this, where his fellow guitarists pay admirable and superb tribute.

3 1/2 stars (out of four)


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