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Chris Dahlgren: Best Intentions

Glenn Astarita By

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Master bassist Chris Dahlgren performs a mini-clinic on the attributes of producing a regimented, booming pulse while also harmonizing and displaying acute lyricism with fellow New York based saxophonists Peter Epstein and Rob Brown on his latest release titled, Best Intentions. Along with the astonishing percussionist Satosji Takeishi, Dahlgren steers the band through seven memorable yet altogether penetrating self-penned compositions recorded at “Five Towns College” in Long Island, NY.

Dahlgren provides the commanding and somewhat bouncy pulse on “The Gadfly” while also voicing and counterbalancing themes supplied by saxophonists Brown and Epstein as the soloists also engage in furious and at times frisky dialogue. Dahlgren’s authoritative yet non-obtrusive presence continues on “The Hypnotist” amid fiery soloing from the dual horn section and Takeishi’s seamless utilization of various percussion instruments. Takeishi should also be commended for maintaining a definable rhythmic structure here and throughout, especially while taking into consideration his seemingly enormous role as a percussionist who supplies the ethnocentric treatments while also handling the flow and meter. At times, Takeishi does emit the sensation or perception of two percussionists performing in tandem. Epstein and Brown trade alternating choruses on “Triptych” while pursuing slightly ominous themes as the band takes a U-turn mid way through this piece where they explore sharp unison lines amid heated conversation. “The Angels of Hartwell” features an affable reggae motif while Dahlgren cunningly constructs a virtual bridge for the saxophonists via his cunning arco-bass work on the composition titled, “Matson”.

There’s no doubt that Dahlgren is a huge talent. Other than his fine technique, the bassist shines as a formidable composer who possesses a great deal of wit and lyrical sensibilities along with a robust and well-defined style of execution. Best Intentions serves as an exemplary showcase for Dahlgren’s astute compositional skills and forthright abilities as a leader. Recommended. * * * *


Title: Best Intentions | Year Released: 2000


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