Carsten Dahl Experience: The Ultimate Experience

One goal of any band is to have its own unique sound and style. The decade-long team of Carsten Dahl/p, Jesper Zeuthen/as, Nils “Bosse” Davidsen/b and Stefan Pasborg demonstrate on this 5 disc anthology that they’ve carved out a sui generis niche. Four of the discs are studio sessions form 2008-2016, and the last is a “Live” performance from 2016.

All albums immediately demonstrate a personal sound. The pull and tug between Dahl’s romantic and yearning piano with Zeuthen’s fragile, acerbic and wide-vibrato of an alto sax makes for some wonderful texture and mood. It’s all held together by the nimble and flexible rhythm team, which can range from cataclysmic and frantic as on “Do You Know Homeless” or “Troubadour” or spacious and impressionistic, such as during “Stop One.”

The albums are uniform in idea and delivery, with Zeuthen sighing on “Caleidscopia” and “Geese in the Sky”  and creating a glorious melancholia on “Tusind Tak.” Dahl is Debussy-impressionisitic on the shadowy “Nora & Beyond” while able to bounce like a bopper on “Statements.” Some pieces such as “Psykocalypso” have a folk flare, while others “Reverentia” viscerally brood in a blue period.

Loose, free and personal, this band has an immediately identifiable sound and approach, and this collection show that the high standard has been, and still is, consistently high.

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