Pianist Carsten Dahl has roots in bop, having studied with the late percussionist Ed Thigpen and recorded CDs of his own in that style during his early years as a leader. But his quartet the Carsten Dahl Experience is a far more wide-ranging affair in a group with alto saxophonist Jesper Zeuthen, bassist Nils Davidsen, and drummer Stefan Pasborg. The lack of liner notes is a bit frustrating, as it would be helpful to hear the musicians discuss what inspired several of their compositions. Throughout the session it is apparent that the musicians are attentive to one another, with the feeling that each song has a bare framework to which each player is free to add his own voice rather than just prescribed accompaniment, resulting in expressive, risk-taking performances. Dahl contributed five originals, including the powerful "Do You Know Homeless?," which borders on free jazz, along with the hilarious twisted "Psykocalypso," which couldn't have been given a better title. Zeuthen penned "Åndedans," a driving, exotic uptempo work that has Middle Eastern influences and the composer's powerful vibrato inviting comparison to Sidney Bechet's soprano sax. Zeuthen's "15 Gode Grunde" is a turbulent, mournful ballad that packs quite a punch. Both "Stop One" and "Stop Two" sound like group improvisations. This fascinating date by the Carsten Dahl Experience will continue to challenge the listener with each hearing.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden