By Isao Tonegawa
Carsten Dahl, the Danish jazz pianist, released his new album Grace on August 28. His piano croons to the listener. You can enjoy this tender “story telling” in his unique musical language, which is based not only on the jazz formality. Yes, it is NOT a pure jazz album, but he presents the music from nowhere – by Carsten Dahl himself. The album weaves his twelve original pieces, gathering the thread of one continued music story on the piano. In Grace, Dahl stepped outside his area of expertise as jazz pianist and widened the horizons of his musical modes of expression.
You listen, however, to his piano playing, with a sweet sense of déjà vu; The music sounds sometimes as J. S. Bach with charming trills, sometimes as Chopin with melancholic waltz, sometimes as Debussy with impressionistic timbres or sometimes even as Satie with frugal melody lines. It traces back to the great masters of the keyboard instrument. You feel as if you are traveling the history of music styles backwards and forwards. (So, you should rather not shuffle the tracks because this album has a perfect track order.)
It is not, nevertheless, a mix of traditional music styles. Dahl’s approach is somewhat philosophical, reminding me exactly of an idiom: “To review the old and know the new”. He is improving – apparently, even while he’s playing – his own musical language following from old schools in the music history since Bach, on whose Goldenberg Variations was, indeed, focused by Dahl himself at the last recording. In Grace he ended up his playing in his own inimitable style with pleasant ambience. Dahl’s music resets the fast pace, which our lives used to be at, to a cozy tempo and his transparent piano tone invigorates you, letting you to a modern oasis of music.
Listen to a track and buy the album from Tiger Music here.