Carsten Dahl

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Carsten Dahl
Carsten Dahl Photo2.jpg
Background information
Born (1967-10-03) 3 October 1967 (age 48)
Chalottenlund, Copenhagen, Sjælland, Denmark
Genres Jazz, classical, spiritual, experimental
Occupation(s) Musician, composer
Instruments Piano, drums
Years active 1980–present
Associated acts "Soloartist", "Carsten Dahl Experience", "Dahl/ Mikkelborg"
Website Official website
Carsten Dahl playing drums.
Photo Hreinn Gudlaugsson

Carsten Dahl (born 3 October 1967 in Copenhagen, Denmark) is a pianist.[1]


Dahl began playing the drums at age 9. By 14 years old, he was a professional drummer / studio musician and at 19 he entered the Rhythmic Music Conservatory. After two years of being taught by jazz drummers Ed Thigpen and Alex Riel, he put drums aside in favour of the piano (an instrument he had never been taught) and applied again at the conservatoy – now as a pianist greatly influenced by Jørgen Nielsen and, later, Butch Lacy.

In the early 1990s Dahl began to play with Embla and Niels Præstholm, Thomas Agergaard, Anders Hentze and Staffan Svensson. Their only CD, EMBLA showed Dahl's freeplaying - something that he would put aside for some years to explore the bebop tradition. During this time of busy collaboration, Dahl started to develop his own style, and met (via saxophonist Agergaard) drummer Thomas Blachman and bassist Lennart Ginman. Dahl appears in various Blachman jazz / hip hop projects during the 1990s, as well as records from the trio he formed with Ginman and drummer Frands Rifbjerg. This trio recorded Will you make my soup hot and silver and Message from Bud. They went on to record a series of albums for the Japanese label Marshmallow – Blue Train and Be Boppish Rubbish Rabbit. They also recorded a quartet CD with Bob Rockwell – A Child Is Born.

Dahl also reunited with Thigpen and his trio, including Joe Lovano. They made three recordings together.

For the mid-1990s and well into the 2000s Dahl played with a great range of artists: Eddie Gomez, Didier Lockwood, Johnny Griffin, Dave Liebman, Phillipe Cathrine, Bent Jædig, Håkon Broström, Richard Boone, Charlie Mariano, Billy Harper, Jerry Bergonzi, Ludz Büchner, Ed Neumeister, Anders Berkrantz, The Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble Midtvest, Reuben Rodgers, Gregory Hutchinson, Elliot Zigmund, Bob Rockwell, Arild Andersen, Jon Christensen, WDRBIGBAND, Palle Mikkelborg, Helen Davies, Michala Petri, Ulf Walkenius, NHØP, Hanne Boel, Lars Danielsen, Putte Wickman, Ted Curson, Joe Lovano, Nisse Sandström, Cæcilie Norby, Mads Vinding, Tomas Franck, Lars Moller, Phil Wilson, Jim Snidero, Tom Kirkpatrick, Thomas Hass, Alex Riel, Wynton Marselis, Jesper Lundgaard, Jan Lundgren, Finn Ziegler, Jesper Thilo, Per Goldschmidt, Klaus Rifbjerg, Suzanne Brøgger, Chili Turéll and others. Dahl appears on more than 150 CDs.

Dahl associated with the classical Ensemble Midvest as an artistic consultant, getting the ensemble to work with free improvisation. Among the many projects they worked on together was music for Fritz Lang's silent film Metropolis and Charlie Chaplin's City Lights and Don Q / Son of Zorro by Douglas Fairbanks.

Dahl has worked for several years with Bach's Goldberg Variations, arranged and played for prepared piano, alongside the Well-Tempered Clavier and Dahl's own 26 Chromatic Inventions – dedicated to Glenn Gould. In spring 2013 Carsten premiered his work The Fifth Dimension for symphony orchestra (dedicated to Per Nørgaard), with the DR vocal ensemble and the Copenhagen Boys Choir.

In October 2013 Dahl premiered his first piano concerto, played by the Odense Symphony Orchestra with Marianna Shiviyuan as the soloist. From 1992, he taught as a tenured associate professor at the Esbjerg conservatory. In 2011 he was appointed to a 5-year term as a professor in rhythmic contemporary music at the Rhythmic Music Conservatory in Copenhagen. He also works as an ambassador for Mental Health Fund, based on his own experiences, and regularly gives talks about anxiety and depression.

For his two solo albums, Dahl took inspiration from both classical pianist Glenn Gould and jazz pianists like Keith Jarrett, Bill Evans, Cecil Taylor and Bud Powell; cultivating improvisation in extreme situations. There are also clear inspirations from contemporary music and different world regions and folk music.

In 2011 Dahl returned to his drumming roots with The Crazy Constellation Trio, with Hugo Rasmussen on bass and Søren Kristiansen on piano.


Dahl's solo albums received the DMA Jazz Prize for Best Recording in 2004 and 2011. Other awards include: Ben Webster Award 1997,[2] Rodovre Musicprice 1997, Jasa Prize 2002, honored by the Danish music council in 2003 for 'Moonwater' and in 2013 for 'DreamChild', DMA Jazz in 2004 for the piece 'Solo Piano', Django D'orPrize in 2006 'Master of Jazz', DMA Jazz in 2011 for the piece 'Effata',and Jazz Specials Prize for album of the year 2011 Metamorphosis. He has also been nominated for the Robert music prize for 'Charlie Butterfly', the Carl prize, and received the prize of honor EWH with NHOP and Premie for 'DreamChild'. 'DreamChild' was also nominated for a grammy in 2013 and his solo CD "PAPILLON" won the Carl Prize for "composer of the year 2014" (named after the Danish composer Carl Nielsen). Nominated for DC of the year 2015 for GOLDBERG VARIATIONS.


Photos: Hreinn Gudlaugsson

Selected discography[edit]

Carsten Dahl Experience at the 2016 Nattjazz in Bergen, Norway.

Solo albums[edit]

Solo piano
  • 2002: The Butterfly Dream (Storyville)
  • 2003: Solo Piano (Stunt), Grammy Winner (3 CD)
  • 2005: Copenhagen-Aarhus- Carsten Dahl solo (Universal Music)
  • 2010: Effata (Storyville)
  • 2012: Dreamchild (Storyville)
  • 2013: Papillon (Tiger Music)
  • 2014: The Myth and the Moth (Tiger Music)
  • 2014: Bach - The Goldberg Variations for prepared piano (Tiger Music)
  • 2015: "Grace" - (Tiger Music)
With the Carsten Dahl Trio

Trio including Jesper Lundgaard & Alex Riel

  • 1993/2008: Minor Meeting (Marshmallow)

Trio including Lennart Ginman (bass) & Frands Rifbjerg (drums)

  • 1998: Will You Make My Soup Hot And Silver (Storyville)
  • 1999: Message From Bud (Storyville)
  • 2004: Blue Train (Marshmallow)
  • 2006: God Bless The Child (Marshmallow), feat. Bob Rockwell
  • 2007: Bebopish Rubbish Rabbit (Marshmallow)
  • 2014: A Good Time (Storyville)
Within Carsten Dahl Experience, quartet including Jesper Zeuthen, Nils Davidsen & Stefan Pasborg
  • 2009: Humilitas (Storyville)
  • 2011: Metamorphosis (Storyville)

2013: "Reverentia" (Storyville) 2013: "Soliluque" ( Exlibris)

Duo with Eddie Gomez
  • 2014: Live at Montmatre (Storyville)
Duo with Allan Vegenfeldt
  • 2000: Charlie Butterfly (Storyville)
Duo with soprano saxophonist Christina Dahl (b. Nielsen)
  • 2000: Lys På Himlen (Dacapo)
  • 2006: Det gyldne landskab (Private)
Trio including Arild Andersen & Patrice Heral
  • 2002: The Sign (Stunt)
  • 2003: Moon Water (Stunt)
Trio including Lennart Ginman & Thomas Blachman
  • 2003: The Library Bar Concerts (Verve)
  • 2004: GinmanBlachmanDahl! (Verve), live at the Copenhagen Jazzhouse
Trio including Arild Andersen & Jon Christensen
Trio including Ed Thigpen & Jesper Bodilsen
  • 1998 "Ed Thigpen Rytm Features - Its Entertaintment" (STUNT)
  • 2011 "Live at Tivoli/Copenhagen" (STUNT)
  • 2006: Tribute to Night Train (Ploug Partnership)
Trio including Mads Vinding & Alex Riel
  • 1999:"Six Hands, three minds, one heart" (STUNT)
  • 2009: In Your Own Sweet Way (Storyville)
With Ensemble MidtVest
  • 2011: Synesthesia & Metropolis (Exlibris)
  • 2013: Soliloquy (Storyville)
With other projects



  1. ^ Dahl's In Our Own Sweet Way Review in All About Jazz By Chris Mosey, published June 2009, All About Jazz
  2. ^ "Prize Winners". Ben Webster Foundation. Retrieved 2010-10-11. 

External links[edit]