Sunday, February 2, 2014

Chris Dahlgren & Lexicon Mystic Maze JW 2009



Beatnik improvisational themes with classical theory and an open ended execution. Perhaps the best third stream release that may have slipped past you.
Brent Black /
So...who is Chris Dahlgren? A native of the Big Apple, Dahlgren is a prolific bassist and innovative composer now making him home in Berlin. As an instrumentalist, the sound is reminiscent of the musical happy place found between a Dave Holland or Rufus Reid while from a compositional perspective there is a fairly identifiable Anthony Braxton influence. Lexicon is a group of musicians familiar to Dahlgren with their debut, Mystic Maze cutting a wide harmonic path by taking the proverbial lyrical road less traveled.
Mystic Maze might best be described as a poetic opera with an improvisational presentation. The subject matter consists of the inspiration of the more spirited works of Bella Bartok. The flow of Mystic Maze is such that the quintet has ample space to develop their own voice and interpretation with the intent of building a more cerebral interpersonal relationship within the "typical" passive listener. Despite theoretical classical construction and an old world vocal presence this is a free form improvisational journey but with an unusual sense of lyrical purpose.

While many consider Chamber jazz "relatively" new in the United States, performances such as this have been common in Europe for roughly thirty years. A unique hybrid of sound, a true vibe marries the discipline of European classical with the early free jazz movements of New York in the 1960's...A true unification of styles, genre and culture into a melodic melting pot that should have the "typical" listener shopping for some Bartok after the first listen.

Tracks: A Mystic Maze; Repetition 1; Painless Denistry 1;Great Desires of The Modernists; Reminiscences On The Forth Quartet Of Bella Bartok; It Was If Two People Were Improvising Against Each Other; Mesto; Painless Dentistry #2; The Composer Promenading The Keyboard In Boots; Bitter Champagne; Repetition Unit 2; Painless Dentistry 3.
Personnel: Antonis Anissegos: Piano, Wurlitzer, Sampler Voice; Chris Dahlgren: Double Bass, Voice Narration; Eric Schaefer: Drums, Percussion, Voice Glockenspiel Sampler; Gebhard Ullmann: Tenor & Soprano Saxophone, Bass Clarinet; Christian Weidner: Alto Saxophone.