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Jazz - Released March 30, 2012 | ACT Music

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - L'album du mois JAZZ NEWS - The Qobuz Standard
A couple of months after pianist Esbjörn Svensson passed away in 2008 after a freak diving accident, what was thought to be the band's final album, Leucocyte, was released. It was considered final because the pianist had been involved in its mixing and sequencing as he had each of their previous 11 albums. The release of 301 comes as a surprise. The material included here was chosen from nine hours of tape recorded during the Leucocyte sessions -- which was, interestingly, originally conceived as a double album. The band fully expected another album would be culled from the remaining material. E.S.T. cut Leucocyte while on tour, having no compositions; what emerged came came out of individual ideas or group jams, making this set feel very much like an extension of the previous recording. The band's surviving members, bassist Dan Berglund and drummer Magnus Öström, along with regular sound engineer Åke Linton, all participated in 301's assemblage (named for the 301 Studios in Sydney). While it may have been sequenced or even mixed a bit differently had Svensson lived, everything here comes together as a compelling whole. Svensson was always keen to embrace more electronic sounds alongside his explorations of post-bop, and they are present here in tracks such as the formlessly experimental noise of "Houston, The 5th," the spacious electronic ambience that constantly yet hesitantly adorns the the backdrop (and even Svensson's piano occasionally) on the gorgeous, sinister "Inner City, City Lights," and in Berglund's blasting, fuzzed-out, phase-shifting basslines on the lengthy "Three Falling Free Part II." But the trio's jazz chops are abundant throughout. Opener "Behind the Stars" is a lovely, lilting, solo piano ballad. Another highlight is the stretched, swinging, balancing act of harmonic engagement in the nearly 14 minute "The Left Lane," while there's yet another shimmering blues in closer "The Childhood Dream." Ultimately, 301 proves that E.S.T. ended the way they came in, as a committed jazz group constantly seeking new ways of expanding the piano trio format as well the parameters of the music itself. This is not only a fine addition to their catalog, it is one of the finest entries in it. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Jazz - Released May 11, 2018 | ACT Music

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 Sterne Fono Forum Jazz
Am 14. Juni 2008 stirbt Esbjörn Svensson bei einem Tauchunfall an der Küste vor Stockholm. Der Bandleader des Trios E.S.T. war erst 44 Jahre alt, konnte aber schon auf eine solide Karriere zurückblicken. Vor allem standen dr schwedische Pianist und seine Komplizen, der Kontrabassist Dan Berglund und der Schlagzeuger Magnus Öström ganz oben in der internationalen Jazz-Szene. Mit Rock, Pop, Hip-Hop oder Elektro inspirierte sich der Jazz von E.S.T. auf unterschiedlichste Weise, ohne jemals kühn zu werden. Jamie Cullum wiederholte oft: „E.S.T. ist das einzige Jazz-Trio, das ich meinen Freunden vorspielen kann, die von Jazz keine Ahnung haben“. Zehn Jahre nach diesem tragischen und vorzeitigen Ableben bringt das Label ACT zum Gedenken an die skandinavische Gruppe dieses Doppelalbum mit dem noch unveröffentlichten Live-Mitschnitt heraus, der am 20. Mai 2005 auf der Bühne des Londoner Barbican Center entstand. Die Fans von E.S.T. wissen natürlich, dass schon zwei Live-Platten auf dem Markt sind (das im Jahre 2001 veröffentlichte Live ´95 und das im Jahre 2007 erschienene Live In Hamburg). Man muss aber zugeben, dass diese Live-Aufnahme aus London einen wahren Höhepunkt darstellt, was die Kohäsion und den Inhalt der Interaktionen zwischen Svensson, Berglund und Öström betrifft. Es ist faszinierend, auf welche Art und Weise der Pianist hier Raum und Stille in seine Musik integriert; und auch mit einer gewissen überschäumenden Poesie spielt, ohne sich je mit bequemen Lösungen zufrieden zu geben. Selbst wenn gewisse Stellen herauszuhören sind, die mehr oder weniger an Keith Jarrett erinnern, so vollzieht Esbjörn Svensson anhand seiner eigenen rhythmischen Elemente eine Kehrtwendung, um sich selbst treu zu bleiben. Irgendwie das schönste Geschenk anlässlich des traurigsten Jahrestages… © Max Dembo/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released November 23, 2007 | ACT Music

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
In a word: wow. Since their 1993 debut album, the Esbjörn Svensson Trio, or E.S.T., as it is usually called, have taken the jazz world by storm, winning numerous awards, playing sold-out world tours, topping the charts, and generally enjoying a popularity that's exceeded that of almost any other jazz group in years. The trio was also the first European jazz group to grace the cover of Down Beat magazine, which led to long discussions about the heritage of jazz and the validity of European jazz; and, naturally, it caused some listeners to perceive an artificial hype and discredit the band for simply not being as brilliant as everyone says they are. Well, do yourself a favor and do not listen to the detractors -- listen to E.S.T.'s music instead, and this two-hour concert recorded on November 22, 2006 in Hamburg, Germany, is an excellent place to start, since it shows the superb musicianship of pianist Esbjörn Svensson, bassist Dan Berglund, and drummer Magnus Öström minus any studio trickery; it shows their exquisite communication with each other, their daring improvisations, their effortless flow -- and most of all, it shows their unique brand of music, where a jazz trio can easily incorporate heavy metal distortion during a song ("Definition of a Dog"), then play a sparse, lovely ballad ("The Goldhearter Miner"), and where funk, classical, and avant-garde music elements are incorporated into a sound that never feels academic or difficult to listen to. The band plays everything with the energy of a rock group (Jim Rakete's liner photography even makes them look like one), and the music is often edgy, but the hypnotic repetitions and the building intensity of many tracks often have an almost trance-like quality. The question whether E.S.T. play jazz or pop or rock is completely beside the point: yes, this is jazz, as jazz has always evolved and incorporated new ideas (and almost all of the important developments in jazz have been derided by critics as not being "true jazz" in their time). Yes, this is pop, as it's accessible and, well, popular. And yes, this is rock, with its energy and recklessness. But essentially, it's just unique and exciting music. © Christian Genzel /TiVo
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Jazz - Released August 29, 2008 | ACT Music

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
It's a damn shame that Leucocyte is the final studio album by the Esbjörn Svensson Trio. Svensson died in a tragic diving accident in June of 2008, shortly after this set was finished. More than any other recording issued by this excellent band, Leucocyte captures the art of music making at the moment of conception; it was recorded as live-in-the-studio improvisation over two days in an Australian studio. It was completely finished, post-production and all, with a release date before Svensson's death. The words "post-production" mean plenty when it comes to E.S.T.'s music. The trio often recorded and added sonic effects to their structured, composed pieces. It underscored their hip sophistication and accessibility. It made them a hit with both jazz fans and younger audiences who listen to Radiohead, Sigur Rós, and even heavy metal more than jazz. The album is dominated by two very lengthy modal suites, near the beginning and end, that offer wildly different views of how they worked as a trio. True, Svensson is a pianist's pianist as both a composer and improviser. His technique is flawless whether he is executing the deft and technical dexterity of someone like Keith Jarrett or the delicate lyricism of Kenny Drew. But bassist Dan Berglund's deep wooded tone and stellar arco work is almost a force of nature, and drummer Magnus Öström's alternately hard swinging and colorful flourishes weave together both thunder and rain. All three messed about with electronics, on-stage and in the studio. The brief, elliptical "Decade," a piano solo, kicks off the set, but is followed little more than a minute later by the two-part "Premonition" suite. Part one, "Earth,'" begins with Berglund's upright bass, pulsing and driving home a syncopated rhythm, illustrated by skeletal illustrative phrases from Svennsson and then the muted percussion of Öström. That bassline drives the track for 17 minutes as electronic sounds begin to establish themselves in between phrases, adorned by ghostly voices in the margins of Svensson's piano lines, which become increasingly more decorative but ever more mysterious. Drums offer fresh force, pushing that bassline into wider dynamic arcs until the whole thing explodes in a kind of postmodern, vanguard jazz lyricism created by taut arpeggios and beats that alternately echo hard bop breaks and Mitch Mitchell on Jimi Hendrix's "Machine Gun." It becomes a swirling cascade of post-bop, new millennium jazz, as a symbiotic relationship is established between trio members, carrying it into its second part. The latter, four-part title suite is pure heavy metal jazz, thanks to the hard arco work by Berglund and the fluid drumming of Öström -- check the opening segment as feedback and disembodied radio voices create the entire middle as Svensson enters in the lower register of his piano. This is a dark, rumbling, ambiguous, aggressive new direction. It breaks sonic ground while remaining lyric and fluid throughout, even in the chaotic third movement. The mysterious final movement brings a kind of equilibrium from the anger but enshrouds the entire thing in foggy mystery. The arco feedback work also commences "Jazz," but then is transformed into a swinging hard bop tune. The spacious, textural, electronic atmospheres of "Still" point the direction to another, unnameable kind of music altogether while being firmly rooted in jazz. Leucocyte may well be the final album by E.S.T., but it's an amazing way to go out. This recording offers more questions than it does answers initially, but gives up the latter as a sad but revelatory pay-off when one hears just what is accomplished here. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Jazz - Released September 30, 2005 | ACT Music

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
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Jazz - Released January 26, 2004 | ACT Music

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
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Jazz - Released October 22, 2001 | ACT Music

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Jazz - Released September 22, 2003 | ACT Music

Available for quite some time as an import before the tiny Philadelphia-based indie 215 Records finally released it stateside, complete with a bonus live DVD, 2003's Seven Days of Falling is every bit the equal of E.S.T.'s earlier records. Misguided American media comparisons to the highly overrated the Bad Plus have done pianist Esbjörn Svensson, bassist Dan Berglund, and drummer Magnus Ostrom a grave disservice, as their music is far more wide-ranging and much less gimmicky. Despite occasional forays into rock influences like "O.D.R.I.P." and a few brief passages that skirt the edges of outside free improv, there's an elegance and shapeliness to the trio's work that has more in common with the cerebral cool of Bill Evans (particularly on the quietly gorgeous opener "Ballad for the Unborn") or the effortless melodic grace of the Vince Guaraldi Trio ("Evening in Atlantis," "Believe, Beleft, Below"). Seven Days of Falling is a ravishingly beautiful, musically captivating album. Bonus track alert: hidden after the nervy "O.D.R.I.P." is the Sinatra-like ballad "Love Is Real," featuring guest vocals from Josh Haden, son of Charlie and brother of Petra. © Stewart Mason /TiVo
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Jazz - Released October 25, 2019 | ACT Music

Hi-Res Booklet
In May 2018, the label ACT released an impressive all-new double live album from the E.S.T. trio, by way of homage to Esbjörn Svensson, who had died ten years previously in a diving accident, aged 44. Live in Gothenburg, also all-new, is another celebration of the cohesion between the Swedish pianist and his collaborators Dan Berglung on the double bass and Magnus Öström on drums... That stage was a favourite for those three, as attested by two other public recordings, Live '95 brought out in 2001 and Live in Hamburg, released 2007. Recorded 10 October 2001, this Swedish show is essentially made up of compositions from their albums of the period, From Gagarin’s Point of View (1999) and Good Morning Susie Soho (2000). While they were already very popular, the group hadn't yet achieved the height of their fame, and their world was changing around them, bit by bit. Esbjörn Svensson works his way into spaces and silences with a lightness of touch that's all his own. And while striking, the commonality with Keith Jarrett never limits his creativity. We come away from Live in Gothenburg frustrated that we'll never know how such an impressive trio would have evolved over the years… © Max Dembo/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released April 26, 1999 | ACT Music

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Jazz - Released March 11, 2002 | ACT Music

E.S.T.'s second U.S. outing offers palatable, often lively acoustic jazz with tantalizing electronic flourishes. It's similar in thrust to the trio's 2001 U.S. debut, Somewhere Else Before, but not as strong melodically. Still, leader/pianist Esbjörn Svensson, bassist Daniel Berglund, and drummer Magnus Öström deliver some heated improvisational exchanges, particularly later in the program on the speedy, almost Mehldau-esque "When God Created the Coffee Break" and the post-bop boogaloo blues "Spunky Sprawl." The trio loses their focus at times, like on the overly long "Behind the Yashmak" and the strangely inert "Serenade for the Renegade." But at their best, E.S.T. displays an alluring lyricism and a subtle, creative use of processed sounds. Öström's drum parts, too, are well-crafted and contemporary. (There's a hidden track at the end, and like the one on Somewhere Else Before, it's a bit out of character.) © David R. Adler /TiVo
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Jazz - Released September 22, 2006 | ACT Music

Sweden's preeminent jazz fusion band the Esbjörn Svensson Trio, named after the charismatic and inventive pianist, has been a sensation in Europe since the early '90s, capturing numerous Swedish Grammys (including one for Tuesday Wonderland long before its Stateside release), a French Grammy, and gold and platinum awards in their home country, Germany and France. But they deserve more than this -- a medal, actually -- for finding a unique blend of melodic jazz, classical, electronica and rock -- that has earned them an audience of both older jazz lovers and trendy hip-hop kids. It speaks to the freshness of their vibe that their videos play regularly on MTV Scandinavia and they're the only European jazz band ever to grace the cover of Downbeat. Though there are traditional elements at work, Tuesday Wonderland thrives on being unconventional. On the opening track "Fading Maid Pendulum," just as it's hypnotizing with a gentle, classically tinged piano melody, Dan Berglund jumps in with a brooding, distorted heavy metal bass craziness and drummer Magnus Ostrom goes cymbal crazy. It's electro-ambient jazz gone mad. The title track features Svensson's David Benoit-like, melodic dark-meets-light piano dichotomy over Ostrom's sharp, off-meter drums before some spacy electronica takes over for a spell. "Brewery of Beggars" is another inspired dose of insanity, darting from busy cymbal-piano swirls to softer, contemplative piano-bass moments. "Beggar's Blanket" puts those pesky beggars to sleep with a sweet, lullaby-like, straightforward trio ballad. The Pat Metheny-esque "Dolores in a Shoestand" explores the melodic and rhythmic potential of jazz, a vibe which extends to other enjoyably seductive pieces like "eighthundred Streets by Feet." "Goldwrap," on the other hand, is a marriage between trippy jazz and explosive trance music -- no wonder the kids love this stuff! Listening to this disc is a gloriously schizophrenic experience that will appeal more to adventurous listeners than those who prefer one style to another. But it was a great introduction to what makes Europe tick in the early 2000s jazz-wise. © Jonathan Widran /TiVo
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Jazz - Released October 25, 2005 | ACT Music

As Esbjörn Svensson's trio has developed into a first-rate contemporary jazz entity, the combined acoustic-electric sound he employs is more alluring and arresting with each recording. The subtle nuances of amplified keyboard shades that embellish his piano playing is a unique quality of E.S.T.'s music that sets them apart from the vast majority of combos who place a larger value on louder complements. Another aspect of this group is that they are truly a working ensemble with stable personnel, as bassist Dan Berglund and drummer Magnus Öström have joined Svensson in this trio for years. The meditative and surrealistic quality of this music is hard to deny or dismiss, as it is so refined and defined within a spiritual parameter -- unique unto itself, and beyond most modern categories. While the titles are elusively cryptic, they can shed some light on the musical content. "Tide of Trepidation" aligns itself to the ECM/Bobo Stenson school of piano thought, a mysterious type of composition with underlying, echoed electronic washes lapping up the melody. "In the Tail of Her Eye" is undoubtedly a slow, 4/4 song of brokenhearted regret, "What Though the Way May Be Long" is a poetic discourse on unseen destiny lying ahead, and "The Unstable Table & the Infamous Fable" intimates a film noir spy scene in its cinematic anticipation of held tension. Less inanimate, "Eighty Eight Days in My Veins" is cast via a shuffle mode in 6/8 time, more driven and chiming with a two-note contrapuntal buzzing insert. The slightly bouncing or bumpy modified tango line of "The Well Wisher" is very light on its feet, in a style that could be a cousin of Keith Jarrett. The most compelling track is "A Picture of Doris Travelling with Boris," as the trio conjures up an aural visage of sleepwalking movement or late-night paranormal mean streets with a sheen of electric light guiding the way. E.S.T.'s music is for specific tastes, but seems to have found common ground with fantasy imagineers, the baby boomer ECM crowd, and youth searching for parallels to the Bad Plus or Brad Mehldau. Viaticum is a successful effort, a progression from their previous efforts, and in many ways a new pathway to the future without relying on black holes. © Michael G. Nastos /TiVo
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Jazz - Released October 28, 2016 | ACT Music

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Jazz - Released October 23, 2000 | ACT Music

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Jazz - Released January 22, 2001 | ACT Music

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Jazz - Released July 9, 2012 | Dragon Records

Like so many American players, Sweden's Esbjorn Svensson has backed his share of pop artists but is essentially a jazz improviser at heart. Svensson's enthusiasm for improvisation came through loud and clear on his Dragon dates of the 1990s, one of which was the decent When Everybody Has Gone. Backed by fellow Swedes Dan Berglund (bass) and Magnus Ostrom (drums), Svensson favors the piano trio format and draws on post-bop influences like Chick Corea, Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett on the standard "Stella By Starlight" and originals ranging from the pensive "4 a.m." to the melancholy "Waltz for the Lonely Ones" and the Middle Eastern-influenced "Mohammed Goes to New York." Much of Svensson's work tends to be introspective and impressionistic, but things get surprisingly funky and almost Horace Silver-ish on "Tough Tough." This CD was released by the Stockholm-based Dragon label, but made its way to some U.S. stores as an import. © Alex Henderson /TiVo
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Jazz - Released September 25, 2000 | ACT Music

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Jazz - Released September 13, 1999 | ACT Music

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Classical - Released July 1, 2005 | Amigo