Christina Dahl (ts), Niclas Knudsen (g), Nils Bosse Davidsen (b), Esben Laub von Lillienskjold (d)
DIGITAL UPC: 193483907475
Here are some of the reviews of this record in English:
Ivan Rod is a journalist, reviewer, author and editor:
It’s been 5 years since we have last heard from Christina Dahl Quartet. When the bandleader released Life’s Carousel in 2014 her quartet, apart from herself, consisted of guitarist Niclas Knudsen, bassist Jesper Lundgaard and drummer Espen Laub von Lillienskjold. In her current quartet Jesper Lundgaard has been replaced by Nils Bosse Davidsen. The remaining members are still the same. But what about the music? It has become more expressive, energetic and explosive. More electrified. Unpredictable, in fact. Not only because of the participation of Nils Bosse Davidsen, but also because of him! And the energy? It most generally fits the music, which on Quintesse lies somewhere between expressive instrumental jazz, and the psychedelic electric guitar and saxophone based rock.
The music – which is written all by Christina Dahl – is dynamic, multifaceted, sensuous, but still lyrical and light. Christina Dahl’s own contribution is both heartfelt and warm. The remaining three members contributions are well-trimmed and well-proportioned. Therefore, Quintesse is at this point one of the saxophonist’s best albums. (translated from Danish)
This review is bh Johan Scherwin from Lira (https://www.lira.se/skivrecension/quintesse/):
Åtta låtar där det konstant händer något. Oftast kastar saxofonisten Christina Dahl ut en tanke, en fras eller en melodi som medresenärerna, gitarren, basen och trummorna, plockar upp. De följer med, tar över, kontrasterar, vänder och vrider på det nyss sagda.
Här och där blir det långa diskussioner om ämnen man bara kan fantisera fritt om. De får tala till punkt, de avbryter och pratar emellanåt i mun. Men de fyra nickar också instämmande och ger varandra understöd. Ibland blir det riktigt stökigt och dragkampigt men oftast är det svävande och drömskt med snudd på oändliga tonlandskap som följd.
Det är stämningsfullt som en småruffigt polerad ECM-platta. Bra så!
This review is by Jan Granlie:
CHRISTINA DAHL QUARTET
«Quintesse» STORYVILLE 101 4327
The Danish saxophonist Christina Dahl has since her debut album, “From this time forward”, from 1995, been an artist who played at the local jazz clubs in Denmark and in that way gained her audiences support throughout the years. She has released more than 10 albums since her debut, not only in her name, but also together with Sophisticated Ladies and her ex husband Carsten Dahl. On her newest album she is working with her current quartet consisting of guitarist Niclas Knudsen, known for Ibrahim Electric, bassist and cello player Nils Bosse Davidsen, who plays with all the modernists of Denmark, and drummer Espen Laub von Lillienskjold.
In Quintesse we get eight compositions all made by Dahl and even from the first note where guitarist Niclas Knudsen plays long notes with a strong blues feeling, I feel Christina Dahl is one her way to a whole new musical landscape. It seems like she really enjoys this musical collaboration with the three other members. It feels as though all the musicians are
comfortable with each other and ideas can flow freely between the musicians. The music has gotten a more modern tune especially because of Niclas Knudsen guitar sound and Davidsen’s electrical bass and cello. This takes the music to a new level.
Most of the compositions are in a ballad or mid-tempo and Christina Dahl plays the saxophone in a muted and nice way. An example of this is the lovely “Stepless Steps” which is a composition that could go right into ECM productions, where the interaction between Dahl and Davidsen’s cello is magical.
The following “Breathless Octavia”, together with “Signs and signals” and the seventh track on the album “Slowly slide” are the albums most modern and experimental compositions where the band takes a new direction into a more free musical landscape and this really complements the Quartet. And at last the lovely “The Scream in the Shrine” where once again the communication between Dahl and Knudsen is excellent, which is why this one of the best songs of the album that a lot of ECM musicians would envy.
This is a song that might as well could have been done by Bill Frisell, because of Knudsen’s minimalistic and fine guitar playing, but with Dahl’s saxophone at the top and von Lillenskjold and Davidsen’s in background this is still something very unique. There is a feel of ECM about most of the music they serve on the disc. Perhaps it is because of the talented musicians Dahl surrounds herself with, and her own playing is all the way tasteful and delicious to listen to. There is never a tone too small or too much. The entire production shows four musicians who understand each other and who have a similar goal for where they want to go with the music.
Here is a review by by George W. Harris from Jazz Weekly:
Christina Dahl Quartet: Quintesse
Soft toned and breathy tenor saxist Christina Dahl creates Givenchy impressions with her team of Niclas Knudsen/g, Nils Bosse Davidsen/cel-eb and Espen Laub von Lillienskjold/dr-perc. The eight tunes are soft and brooding themes, with sighing sax and brooding bows on pieces such as “Invisible Whispering” the chamber’d “Clarity” and the Bartokian “Slowly Slide.” Daviden’s electric bass line adds texture to the soft “Quintesse” and cadences with Lillienskjold’s military taps on “Breathless Octavia” with a gorgeous canter for “Signs and Signals.” More wisps and fog than The Hound of the Baskervilles.”