6

Christina Dahl: Life's Carousel

Chris Mosey By

Sign in to view read count
Christina Dahl: Life's Carousel Christina Dahl, wife of Carsten Dahl, Denmark's No. 1 jazz pianist, is that rare phenomenon: a woman saxophonist.

She is a very forceful player, guilty perhaps, on occasion, of over- compensating for her femininity. Still, the saxophone has always tended to encourage extremes of expression, from the raucous, macho honking of rhythm 'n' blues men such as Earl Bostic and Jackie Brenston, through those Jazz At The Philharmonic "battles" between the giants of yesteryear, all the way to the extended soul searching of John Coltrane and demented declaiming of Albert Ayler.

It wasn't always thus. Once upon a time folks in their thousands thrilled to the lush, rhapsodic tones of Johnny Hodges, who had nothing to prove, except that he wanted a pay rise.

Dahl wants to express herself. She composes her own material, trying— she says—to "reflect on life, creating musical snapshots of its extremes, contrasts and vulnerability." She says, "Composing music to me is telling stories." When performing, she explains the particular story to her audience then plays it.

She produces some quite lovely melodies on occasion but then, seemingly feeling that she has relaxed her guard too far, starts coming on like Godzilla on speed, squawking and blipping as she rips the city and its inhabitants to shreds.

Not always. The session starts out with "Intuitive Spring," an edgy ballad, which actually contains echoes of Hodges (albeit on tenor). Niclas Knudsen contributes an understated solo on guitar before handing the mike over to bassist Jesper Lundgaard. Then Dahl returns, kept on the straight and narrow by Lundgaard.

"Thundering Heart" has its moments—notably in the statement of the theme—but degenerates into nerve-wracking free form before close of play. Dahl then goes in "Quest For The True Nightingale," which is nicely lyrical on occasion, with an appropriately folksy feel. Here she plays in more "breathy" mode and Lundgaard puts in some sterling work. Things fall apart before a return to the theme and a deeper exploration of its melody, with some rocking guitar from Knudsen. There follows an inventive "outro" by the leader.

In "Lifetile" Dahl ventures cautiously into Coltrane territory but is back in "breathy" mode for the title song, perhaps recalling Ben Webster, who is buried in Copenhagen. Webster had nothing to prove so long as you bought him a drink in the interval.

Dahl won the Ben Webster award in 1994.

Track Listing: Intuitive Spring; Thundering Heart; Quest For The True Nightingale; Lifetile; Life’s Carousel; New Space Age; Forest Glade; Blue Longings.

Personnel: Christina Dahl: tenor saxophone; Niclas Knudsen: guitar; Jesper Lundgaard: bass; Espen Laub Von Lillienskjøld: drums.

Title: Life's Carousel | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Storyville Records


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Christina Dahl Events

Date Event Time
Nov24Fri Kjeld Lauritsen ”hammond Organ 7”
Jazzcup
Copenhagen, Denmark
18:30
Entre: kr. 120,- (100,-) DKK

More Articles

Read Albert Mangelsdorff And His Friends CD/LP/Track Review Albert Mangelsdorff And His Friends
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Heaven On Their Minds CD/LP/Track Review Heaven On Their Minds
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Unnatural  Events CD/LP/Track Review Unnatural Events
by Roger Farbey
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Rediscovered Ellington CD/LP/Track Review Rediscovered Ellington
by James Nadal
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Clean CD/LP/Track Review Clean
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 15, 2017
Read Expedition: Duo Electro-Acoustic Improvisations CD/LP/Track Review Expedition: Duo Electro-Acoustic Improvisations
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 15, 2017
Read "AMa AZa LaNdO" CD/LP/Track Review AMa AZa LaNdO
by Geno Thackara
Published: August 23, 2016
Read "Black Diamond" CD/LP/Track Review Black Diamond
by Joe Gatto
Published: March 7, 2017
Read "50" CD/LP/Track Review 50
by Doug Collette
Published: July 22, 2017
Read "Salt Task" CD/LP/Track Review Salt Task
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 15, 2017
Read "Silk & Steel" CD/LP/Track Review Silk & Steel
by Budd Kopman
Published: October 24, 2016
Read "Summer Skyshift" CD/LP/Track Review Summer Skyshift
by John Sharpe
Published: August 18, 2016

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.