Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Esbjörn SVENSSON Trio - When Everyone Has Gone 1993
Clearly it's difficult to listen to any jazz recording without making comparisons with other great artists who have gone before them. In the last couple of decades, the position occupied by Keith Jarrett's Standards Trio has almost demanded that such comparisons should be made with them, and those who are fans of Jarrett will not be disappointed here.
But this 1993 (and also pre-ACT) recording in the wide-ranging catalogue of the Esbjorn Svensson Trio not only establishes them as artists who march to the beat of their own orignal drum, but offers the listener a signpost to how the trio would emerge over the next decade or so.
Already present in Svensson's piano playing are the funky and driving rhythmic foundations which provide him with a basis for his lightning melodic runs, as well as the almost telepathic interplay between all three members of EST. For it must never be forgotten that without Dan Berglund's underpinning bass, and Magnus Öström's skitterish and vibrant drumming, EST would never have achieved the greatness that they rightly deserved.
If there are two tracks that display the wide spectrum of what EST were capable of, they are the achingly beautiful Waltz For The Lonely Ones (also recorded later with vocals by the long-time associate of Svensson, Viktoria Tolstoy) and the simply joyous Tough Tough which displays Berglund and Öström at their supportive best.
Fortunate enough to have not only seen EST on a number of occasions, but also to meet the band and talk about their music after much appreciated concerts (and what humble, generous, and humourous guys they all were!) the loss that the jazz world suffered when Svensson died in a tragic scuba diving accident in June 2008 continues to be felt, and will do for many years to come
This is a great album in itself, and and also a signpost to the future splendours that EST would achieve.
Like so many American players, Sweden's Esbjörn 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.
By Alex Henderson, AMG.
Esbjörn Svensson- Main Performer, Fender Rhodes, Oberheim, Piano (Grand), Roland D50
Magnus Ostrom- Percussion, Drums, Vocals
Daniel Berglund- Whistle (Human), Double Bass
01. When Everyone Has Gone
03. Free Four
04. Stella By Starlight
06. Mohammed Goes To New York
07. Mohammed Goes To New York
08. Waltz For The Lonely Ones
09. Silly Walk
10. Tough Tough
11. Hands Off