Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Carsten Dahl/ Arild Andersen/ Jon Christensen: Space is the Place (Storyville)

This recording should prove to all the international listeners what a great piano player Carsten Dahl is. Critics in Norway have already praised this album and the newspapers Dagbladet and Aftenposten both awarded Space is the Place with six stars, which is the highest rank possible. So, are they crazy about Dahl in Norway? No doubt about it! It might be a little help that he is playing with two of the biggest names found in Norwegian jazz. Dahl has resumed work with bass player Arild Andersen with whom he has already created two of the most remarkable albums from the beginning of this century, and at the drums we find living legend Jon Christensen. As well as Jan Garbarek and Keith Jarret, Jon Christensen, established himself at the top of 70’s international jazz, and I guess that’s where he has resided ever since.

Within the last few years Carsten Dahl has released albums with both solo piano and the free jazz orchestra Experience. This time around he works with a trio of tremendous dimensions. Arrild Andersen and Jon Christensen are veterans in this constellation while Carsten Dahl is merely a young boy. But it doesn’t affect the collaboration. Dahl’s playing is deliberate and very mature in a material based on a series of improvisations. Dahl is leaning towards melodies, though, and doesn’t roam into the universe of free jazz.
Dahl has brought us many different places in piano jazz and one should be careful with the comparison to Keith Jarret, but I’ll risk just one of my ears in saying it this one time. The open expressionistic style is based upon the same values. But otherwise it’s large doses of Dahl all the way around, incontrovertibly.

This is the third album by a piano trio I recommend (this month). Simon Toldam Trio, The Mighty Mouse and Carsten Dahl all prove that time doesn’t stand still in the trio jazz from Denmark. These three albums mentioned will not pass by as sound shadows on the wallpaper. They want to challenge the listener and take him to every nook and corner in the most jazzy way. 

Review Niels Overgaard. Translation DSI Swinging Europe

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