Christina Dahl, Souls of the Wind Review
by Jeff Becker
Christina Dahl is a saxophonist, bandleader, and composer constantly searching for greater freedom of expression and new challenges as a composer and performer. Dahl says, “It is important to me that the music I compose is creating a frame of freedom. My vision is to challenge and develop new expressions in my music and create new musical sounds. To me, music is love. Love is unconditional. I can choose to receive the music and let it flow through me like a wave of warm energy. I can express myself freely. I can let myself be caught, taken by the music. I can consciously and unconsciously find an embrace of all my feelings in the music – joy, anger, sorrow, longing, fear, and so much more.” This is reflected on Dahl’s latest trio album called Souls of the Wind, where she records with Simon Toldam on piano and keyboards and Peter Bunn on drums and percussion. The music is composed by Dahl with a theme of inner pictures and storylines and trio portrays the music in a mutual, organic, musical image that reflects human and life’s eternal dynamics and changeability.
“Sallow Subtones” is our introduction to the flowing program by the three musicians. The third stream-inspired melody makes use of space and atmospheric sounds. In this selection, Dahl’s saxophone provides both support and lead in different sections. The song’s form switches between twentieth-century classical and modern jazz. Dahl’s playing style combines jazz swing and straight-eight with a fluid time feel. Bruun is very interactive and adds to the drama of the improvisation.
“Chaos in Change” finds the trio developing a contrapuntal melody. The core sounds play against each other as they build to a buoyant groove. Toldam and Bruun build to Dahl entrance as the three proceed to create a passionate improvised statement.
Christina Dahl brings us a unique sound package of European Classical and American Jazz combined to form greater freedom of expression in a trio setting. The three are free to create new musical sounds with movement while guided by clear themes and structures. Souls of the Wind is highly recommended if you enjoy third stream, electronic music, and classical influences in improvised group settings being guided by strong composed melodies and modern harmonic colors.