Carsten Dahl

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Carsten Dahl
Carsten Dahl Photo2.jpg
Dahl in 2010
Background information
Born (1967-10-03) 3 October 1967 (age 51)
Copenhagen, Denmark
GenresJazz, classical, experimental
Occupation(s)Musician, composer
InstrumentsPiano, drums
Years active1980–present
WebsiteOfficial website
Memorial concert for pianist Butch Lacy, Copenhagen Jazz Festival 2018.

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 and 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 favor of the piano, an instrument he had never been taught, and applied again at the conservatory – 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 improvising, something that he would put aside for some years to explore the bebop tradition. During this collaboration, Dahl started to develop his own style, and met (via saxophonist Agergaard) drummer Thomas Blachman and bassist Lennart Ginman. Dahl appeared in Blachman jazz and hip hop projects during the 1990s, as well as records from the trio he formed with Ginman and drummer Frands Rifbjerg. This trio recorded the albums 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 RecordsBlue Train and Be Boppish Rubbish Rabbit. They also recorded A Child Is Born, a quartet album with Bob Rockwell. Dahl also reunited with Thigpen and his trio, including Joe Lovano. They made three recordings together. Dahl appears on more than 150 albums

For the mid-1990s and well into the 2000s Dahl played with Anders Bergcrantz, Arild Andersen, Bent Jædig, Billy Harper, Cæcilie Norby, Charlie Mariano, Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Dave Liebman, Didier Lockwood, Ed Neumeister, Eddie Gomez, Eliot Zigmund, Ensemble Midtvest, Finn Ziegler, Gregory Hutchinson, Hanne Boel, Helen Davies, Jan Lundgren, Jerry Bergonzi, Jesper Lundgaard, Jesper Thilo, Jim Snidero, Johnny Griffin, Jon Christensen, Klaus Rifbjerg, Lars Danielsson, Lars Moller, Mads Vinding, Michala Petri, NHØP, Palle Mikkelborg, Per Goldschmidt, Phil Wilson, Philip Catherine, Putte Wickman, Reuben Rogers, Richard Boone, Suzanne Brøgger, Ted Curson, Thomas Hass, Tom Kirkpatrick, Tomas Franck, Ulf Wakenius, WDR Big Band, and Wynton Marsalis.

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, 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.



As leader/co-leader[edit]

Year recorded Title Label Notes
1996 Will You Make My Soup Hot and Silver Storyville Trio, with Lennart Ginman (bass), Frands Rifbjerg (drums)
1998 Message from Bud Storyville Trio, with Lennart Ginman (bass), Frands Rifbjerg (drums)
1998? Ed Thigpen Rhythm Features: It's Entertaintment Stunt with Ed Thigpen, Jesper Bodilsen
1999? Six Hands, Three Minds, One Heart Stunt with Mads Vinding, Alex Riel
1999 The Butterfly Dream Storyville Solo piano
2000? Lys På Himlen Dacapo with Christina Dahl
2000 Jazzpar 2000 Quintet Storyville Quintet, with Jorg Huke (trombone), Tony Coe (soprano sax, tenor sax, clarinet), Lars Danielsson (cello, bass), Aage Tanggaard (drums); in concert
2002? The Sign Stunt with Arild Andersen, Patrice Heral
1996–2003 Solo Piano Stunt Solo piano
2003 Moon Water Stunt Trio, with Arild Andersen (bass), Patrice Heral (drums)
2003? The Library Bar Concerts Verve with Lennart Ginman, Thomas Blachman
2004 Copenhagen-Aarhus Edge Solo piano
2004? Blue Train Marshmallow Trio, with Lennart Ginman, Frands Rifbjerg
2005? Ginman/Blachman/Dahl! Universal with Lennart Ginman, Thomas Blachman
2006? God Bless the Child Marshmallow with Lennart Ginman, Frands Rifbjerg, Bob Rockwell
2006? Charlie Butterfly Stunt Duo, with Allan Vegenfeldt
2006? Det gyldne landskab Private with Christina Dahl
2006? Short Fairytales EmArcy with Arild Andersen, Jon Christensen
2006? Tribute to Night Train Ploug Partnership
2007? Bebopish Rubbish Rabbit Marshmallow Trio, with Lennart Ginman, Frands Rifbjerg
2008? Minor Meeting Grave News Trio, with Jesper Lundgaard, Alex Riel
2008? Humilitas Storyville Quartet, with Jesper Zeuthen (alto sax), Nils Davidsen (bass), Stefan Pasborg (drums)
2009? In Our Own Sweet Way Storyville with Mads Vinding & Alex Riel
2011? Synesthesia & Metropolis Exlibris with Ensemble MidtVest
2011? Live at Tivoli/Copenhagen Stunt with Ed Thigpen, Jesper Bodilsen
2011? Effata Storyville Solo piano
2011? Metamorphosis Storyville
2011 Live at Montmartre Storyville Duo, with Eddie Gomez (bass); in concert
2011 Space Is the Place Storyville Trio, with Arild Andersen (bass), Jon Christensen (drums)
2012? Dreamchild: Solo Piano Storyville Solo piano
2013? Soliloquy Storyville with Ensemble MidtVest
2013 Under the Rainbow Storyville Trio, with Arild Andersen (bass), Jon Christensen (drums)
2013? Reverentia Storyville
2013? Soliluque Exlibris
2013? Papillon Tiger Solo piano
2014? Bach – The Goldberg Variations for Prepared Piano Tiger Solo piano
2014? The Myth and the Moth Tiger Solo piano
2014? A Good Time Storyville Trio, with Lennart Ginman, Frands Rifbjerg
2015? Grace Tiger Solo piano

As sideman[edit]


  1. ^ Mosey, Chris (24 June 2009). "Carsten Dahl/Mads Vinding/Alex Riel: In Our Own Sweet Way". All About Jazz. Retrieved 9 December 2016.

External links[edit]