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Dahlgren, Chris & Lexicon: Mystic Maze (Jazzwerkstatt)

12 compositions from bassist Dahlgren in a quintet including Gebhard Ullman performing works using a compositional matrix system and narrative from critiques written against Bela Bartok.

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product information:

UPC: 4250079758357

Label: Jazzwerkstatt
Catalog ID: JW088
Squidco Product Code: 12920

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2010
Country: Germany
Packaging: Jewel Tray in wrap-around box
Recorded June 3, 2008 at Traumton Studios, Berlin by Markus Mittermeyer. Vocal tracking and mixing by Peter Liljeqvist and Chris Dahlgren at Height Mansion Studios, 2008, Berlin.


Chris Dahlgren-doublebass, voice narration

Antonis Anissegos-piano, wurlitzer, sampler, voice

Eric Schaefer-drums, percussion, voice, glockenspiel sampler

Gebhard Ullmann-tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, bass clarinet

Christian Weidner-alto saxophone

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track listing:

1. Bitter Champagne 3:01

2. The Composer Promenading the Keyboard in His Boots 4:42

3. Great Desires of the Modernists 1:34

4. It Was as if Two People Were Improvising Against Each Other 3:46

5. Mesto 2:01

6. A Mystic Maze 4:52

7. 'Painless Dentistry' No. 1 10:28

8. 'Painless Dentistry' No. 2 7:15

9. 'Painless Dentistry' No. 3 5:46

10. Reminiscences on the Fourth Quartet of Béla Bartok 6:45

11. Repetition Unit 1 2:50

12. Repetition Unit 2 2:22
Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
European Improv, Free Jazz & Related
Unusual Vocal Forms
Quintet Recordings

sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"The music of Mystic Maze is based upon a selection of written critiques against the music of the great composer Bela Bartok, who lived from 1881-1945. I wanted, in my own way, to vilify some of the very critics who judged Bartok's incredible music so harshly by turning their own words against them- in other words, to turn their words into music. These critiques, to be found in the 'Lexicon of Musical Invective' compiled by Nicolas Slonimsky, form the written material the band plays, via compositional matrix systems. In some cases, I narrate these texts to the music. Ironically, the more familiar these critiques have become to me, the more I've come to enjoy their special vitriolic qualities. In our current time, music seldom inspires such passion and I wax nostalgic about the days when it did. What makes the music of LEXICON jazz- beyond stylistic any considerations- is that the larger part of composed material is extemporaneously initiated, arranged and improvised upon, by the band, differently for each performance. As such, I am greatly indebted to all of the musicians in the band for their unique contributions to this music."-Chris Dahlgren

Artist Biographies:

"The drummer and composer Eric Schaefer lives in Berlin and works worldwide with different ensembles of his own and as a sideman. The range of his musical expression is wide and combines influences from Jazz, contemporary music to post-rock, dub and noise. He is writing pieces for orchestras, piano-trios and jazz-rock-bands. The use of gongs and small percussion from all over the world as well as modular synthesis broaden the spectrum of Schaefer´s sound-possibilities. His work is documented on numerous albums and is broadcasted in radio-shows and on television."

-Eric Schaefer Website (

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"Born on November 2, 1957 in Bad Godesberg, Germany saxophonist (tenor and soprano), bass clarinetist, bass flutist and composer Gebhard Ullmann studied medecine and music in Hamburg and moved to Berlin in 1983.Since then he has recorded more than 50 CDs as a leader or co-leader for prestigious labels such as Soul Note (Italy), Leo Records (UK), Between The Lines (Germany), CIMP (USA), NotTwo Records (Poland), Clean Feed (Portugal) Unit Records (Switzerland) and others.

For many years he is considered one of the leading personalities in both the Berlin and international music scenes and has received numerous awards for his work including the Julius Hemphill Composition Award in two categories ('99), the Deutsche Phonoakademie award ('83), one of the first SWF Jazz Awards ('87) and the nomination best-jazz-CD-of-the-year by the German Schallplattenkritik for his CD Tá Lam in 1995.

His CDs Final Answer (2002) The Bigband Project (2004) New Basement Research (2008) News? No News! (2010) Mingus! (2011) Clarinet Trio 4 (2012) were all listed in Downbeat Magazine among the best CDs of those years. The CD Transatlantic received the prestigious Choc of the French Jazz Magazine in 2012. Since 2005 Gebhard Ullmann is listed in the Downbeat Critics Poll, 2015 for the first time in three categories.

Since 1993 Ullmann was a recording artist for Soul Note and has been living in New York City and Berlin. He has toured with his music throughout Europe as well as Africa, the Middle East, Canada, New Zealand, the USA, South East Asia, Mexico and China and performed on most of the world's most prestigious jazz festivals."

-Gebhard Ullmann Website (

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