DHALGREN- ‘Songs from a Dystopian Utopian’ 2020 Boomslang/Galileo

“A world where all are pacified to consume and obey – Aldous Huxley described what might come if we don’t choose. Chris Dahlgren (the swapped letters mark the artist’s name) dedicates a song to the dystopian novel – and not only here raises his dark, expressive voice, which you will not soon forget and hardly want to miss. Dhalgren’s ‘dystopian utopias’ are epically intertwined, subjective balancing act between space rock, dark jazz and psychedelic folk – in a sound world consisting of guitars, strings, vibraphone, bass and drums. Russian science fiction novels, which Dhalgren uses as a further literary source alongside Shakespeare and Huxley, are suitable as travel reading. Writing an album that bursts with substance because the inner voice calls for it angrily and hunger for life, Chris Dahlgren probably also succeeds because he researches musical fundamentals: The American, a true multi-instrumentalist, studied composition with Anthony Braxton and double bass with Dave Holland, currently cooperates with Gebhard Ullmann, Eric Schaefer has felt at home in the Melting-Pot Berlin for many years. Here he also met the singer Almut Kühne and the saxophonist Hayden Chisholm, who enrich the arrangements in phases. It’s about nothing less than everything: about the blues of life in a time when reality has long overtaken most dystopian novels.”

Stefan Pieper, Jazzthetik (five stars) Jan./Feb. 2021

Bassist Chris Dahlgren has crafted one of the more provocative releases [LEXICON- Mystic Maze] in recent memory.

Stuart Broomer, AllAboutJazz-New York (link)

[LEXICON- Mystic Maze] Another project that doesn’t tick the box marked “Rational.” Bassist Chris Dahlgren found some critical reviews of the work of composer Béla Bartók and set them to music. The result is one of the oddest, funniest and finest albums of the year: Dahlgren’s drily intoned vocals combining with some superb instrumental work to create a unique jazz album. Whoever imagined that reviewers could write so much worth listening to? The Jazz Vocal Award 2010 goes, undoubtedly, to Dahlgren’s delivery of the word “Ordure.”

Bruce Lindsay, (link)

Dahlgren’s combination of words and music makes it [LEXICON- Mystic Maze] one of the most innovative and entertaining albums of the year…

Bruce Lindsay, (link)

…Mystic Maze is a brilliant slice of improvisation, classical theory and poetry.

Stephan Moore, JazzWrap (link)

As a meditation on musical exactness, modernity, chaos and order, it’s [LEXICON- Mystic Maze] thought provoking stuff…. it’s serious fun indeed.

Jason Bivins, Cadence

The conventional wisdom that the substance and staying power of an artist needs to be established by his or her third album holds true with Chris Dahlgren’s Best Intentions.

– Bill Shoemaker, Jazz Times

The… bass work of Chris Dahlgren is on the leading edge of any bass work in the world.

– David Darling (cellist/ composer, ECM recording artist)

… a potential bass giant.

– Ron Welburn, Jazz Times

The secret for making Slow Commotion work is the wonderful integrity of the compositions and the organizational genius to get such wonderful and sympathetic players to make it soar… the touch of a compositional master- superb. Chris Dahlgren is in the continuum.

– OscarTreadwell (historically important jazz radio producer)

Dahlgren… has created a collection of attractive sound-scapes distinguished by a fierce originality and a genuine sense of adventure.

– Philip Booth, Down Beat

Dahlgren’s authority and open-mindedness are obvious in this unusually spacious and liberating jazz record. More than a find, this is a triumph.

– Carlo Wolff, Cleveland Plain Dealer

Dahlgren’s music is path-breaking yet accessible, dissonant yet melodically rich… there’s a familiar and even comforting sense of structure, even as Dahlgren and company conjure strange, new worlds.

– David R. Adler,

Dahlgren’s slant has a compositional formality to it, but its perspective on the blues is never out of earshot.

– Jim Macnie, the Village Voice

Chris Dahlgren is not your typical bass player. He’s an explorer for whom every possibility is an option to be unearthed and examined as he seeks new sounds and new approaches for his music and his instrument.

– Ken Frankling, The Jazz Condition- UPI Arts & Entertainment