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Carsten Dahl Trio: A Good Time

Chris Mosey By

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With this album, Denmark's premier jazz pianist Carsten Dahl throws into doubt the old adage that familiarity breeds contempt.

First, there's the line-up: he's played with Lennart Ginman (bass) and Frands Rifbjerg (drums) many times before, most notably on two previous albums for Storyville, Will You Make My Soup Hot & Silver from 1996 and Message From Bud, recorded two years later. Fine albums, both, but eclipsed by this one.

Secondly, there's the content. Nearly all the numbers on A Good Time will be familiar to Dahl aficionados, yet none have received such relaxed and warmly creative treatment as they are given here, most notably Paul Desmond's "Take Five" and Cole Porter's "Love For Sale," both featured on the previous albums.

The stand-out track, "Someone To Watch Over Me," is less familiar in his hands but, despite all the various versions over the years by different bands, Dahl manages to imbue the piece with new meaning, creating a gently swinging jazz meditation.

He's close to perfection on this one: demonstrating with consummate artistry how to start and get into the song, then how to keep it going and, finally, how to end it subtly, exactly where it should end, with no recall to the kind of tired old closing dramatics resorted to by lesser players.

On occasion he may bang away at a chord a little too long in the hope it will give birth to a melodic idea but a great many far more famous jazz pianists have been guilty of this over the years.

Let's let the man himself have the last word on this great album: "When Lennart, Frands and I meet, we never rehearse anything and we don't talk about what to play. The music springs naturally from my spontaneous introductions. Our only reference point is that the music must feel good and we must have a good time."

Track Listing: Love For Sale; When You Wish Upon A Star; Take Five; Easy Living; What Is This Thing Called Love; Someone To Watch Over Me; Down With It; Night And Day.

Personnel: Carsten Dahl: piano; Lennart Ginman: bass; Frands Rifbjerg: drums.

Title: A Good Time | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Storyville Records

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