Esbjorn Svensson and EST - Opinions?

Posted by: jjo

Esbjorn Svensson and EST - Opinions? - 12/04/12 12:51 PM

For those who don't know, Esbjorn Svensson was a Swedish jazz pianist who, prior to his very untimely death a few years ago, lead a trio called EST, that was perhaps the most popular jazz group in Europe. His reputation here was growing.

I have just begun to explore his music. While they will never be my favorite group, I am finding great beauty and real creativity. They have some influences of rock and roll, and are somewhat reminiscent of The Bad Plus, although I much prefer them. They are anti-bop, in that they frequently rely on vamps with few chord changes that build and build.

I listen to a lot of jazz musicians I've not heard of, always in the search for something fresh and exciting. Most of what I try I don't like (or I think, why listen to this when I've got Bill Evans, Miles Davis, Art Blakey, etc. to listen to?). But, when I find a new artist, with a really distinctive sound that I can connect with, it is so exciting and inspiring. EST has done that for me.

I'm curious what others think. Here is a sample: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7KXq6RJ0PA
Posted by: LoPresti

Esbjorn Svensson and EST - Opinions? - 12/04/12 09:22 PM

. . . (yawn) . . . I will say that these gentlemen know how to LOOK intense - or perhaps troubled . . . (yawn) . . . I was a little troubled too, with the (yawn) intonation . . .
Posted by: davefrank

Re: Esbjorn Svensson and EST - Opinions? - 12/04/12 10:07 PM

I liked these guys, sad about his untimely passing...(oops here we go) he had good time otherwise..

DF
Posted by: 36251

Re: Esbjorn Svensson and EST - Opinions? - 12/04/12 11:22 PM

I very much enjoy their first two albums and I saw them open for Brad Meldah many years ago. I was stunned when I heard of his passing. He died in a scuba diving accident I believe.
Posted by: custard apple

Re: Esbjorn Svensson and EST - Opinions? - 12/05/12 06:02 AM

I liked it. I'm all for infusing rock with jazz. These days, I wouldn't pay for jazz fusion type gigs, however this is the style of music that you're more likely to find in Sydney.
Posted by: jjo

Re: Esbjorn Svensson and EST - Opinions? - 12/05/12 10:02 AM

Custard: Interesting that this kind of music is alive in Sydney. I remember a couple of years ago when I went to hear The Bad Plus, I found their music interesting, but not to my taste. I was thrilled, however, to be in a jazz audience where the average age was below 50. Can't tell you how many times you read internet posts with people scoffing disdainfully at such music, and then the next day lamenting why jazz isn't more popular.
Posted by: Scott Coletta

Re: Esbjorn Svensson and EST - Opinions? - 12/05/12 11:44 AM

Thanks for posting this jjo! I once briefly looked into E.S.T. and liked them, but I wasn't in much of a listening mood at the time so I forgot about them... until now. smile I really like their approach and I'm definitely going to listen to more now. Anyone interested in E.S.T. should check out the documentary "Icons Among Us: Jazz in the Present Tense". Lots of great up and coming musicians and interviews, really forward looking and interesting stuff.
Posted by: scepticalforumguy

Re: Esbjorn Svensson and EST - Opinions? - 12/06/12 12:51 AM

I think EST was a great group. I must admit that I can't listen to an entire album in one sitting, but then again, I can't do that with any other artists either.

Esbjorn was a true talent, and some of their tunes are just spectacular.

I find the comment about their intonation a bit strange from loPresti. The bassist is also amazing from all the stuff I've heard.
Posted by: LoPresti

Re: Esbjorn Svensson and EST - Opinions? - 12/06/12 07:24 AM

Originally Posted By: scepticalforumguy
I find the comment about their intonation a bit strange from loPresti. The bassist is also amazing from all the stuff I've heard.

Jazz bassists should not be allowed to play "arco" - it simply does not work out for them (the possible exception being Ron Carter). Did you actually LISTEN to the first piece?

I have a recording of the Oscar Peterson Trio where Ray Brown (he was a pretty fair bassist also) plays a chorus or two with the bow. It is almost "unlistenable"! How this piece on the Oscar Peterson album was ever approved for release is beyond belief.
Posted by: charleslang

Re: Esbjorn Svensson and EST - Opinions? - 12/06/12 01:41 PM

Originally Posted By: LoPresti
Originally Posted By: scepticalforumguy
I find the comment about their intonation a bit strange from loPresti. The bassist is also amazing from all the stuff I've heard.

Jazz bassists should not be allowed to play "arco" - it simply does not work out for them (the possible exception being Ron Carter). Did you actually LISTEN to the first piece?



I had thought that you were referring to the heartbeat-like work on the bass at the beginning. The intonation of this didn't bother me for years until I listened on my home system, and then these notes started sounding bad.

The arco, bowing intonation has never bothered me. I believe it's supposed to sound eerie. On the other hand, usually bad intonation makes me feel sick. Maybe I'll notice a problem the next time I listen, I guess . . .

EST has been in my top 3 acts for several years. Svensson wrote most of the parts, from what I've gathered here and there. I'm not a big fan of their last album, though, when they went in a strongly different direction -- lots of electric, less organized. I would have liked to have seen where Svensson went after that album. I'm guessing that at some point he would have returned to his roots with piano-based material.
Posted by: LoPresti

Re: Esbjorn Svensson and EST - Opinions? - 12/06/12 02:10 PM

Originally Posted By: charleslang
I had thought that you were referring to the heartbeat-like work on the bass at the beginning. The intonation of this didn't bother me for years until I listened on my home system, and then these notes started sounding bad.

The arco, bowing intonation has never bothered me. I believe it's supposed to sound eerie. On the other hand, usually bad intonation makes me feel sick. Maybe I'll notice a problem the next time I listen, I guess . . .

I seem to be stepping on a lot of toes here, so I'll stop commenting on this hereafter. But, Charles, I was referring to that opening bass riff, AND the bowing, AND a few other places besides.

Eerie sounds, created by quarter-tones, or eighth-tones, or glissandi, are one thing; and then there is just plain out-of-tune. In fairness, I have not listened to the other selection(s).
Ed
Posted by: scepticalforumguy

Re: Esbjorn Svensson and EST - Opinions? - 12/06/12 03:44 PM

Originally Posted By: LoPresti

Eerie sounds, created by quarter-tones, or eighth-tones, or glissandi, are one thing; and then there is just plain out-of-tune. In fairness, I have not listened to the other selection(s).
Ed

In fairness, I have listened to the other selections, and based my opinion on the body of work, rather than the opening phrase and other areas you are focussed on. In any case, my toes are fine. Maybe my ears are shot though?
Posted by: scepticalforumguy

Re: Esbjorn Svensson and EST - Opinions? - 12/06/12 03:48 PM

As a side note, for those interested in great bass players who play in tune check out Renaud Garcia Fons. He plays the bass up in the snow, and perfectly in tune. I saw him live, and was absolutely impressed with not only his virtuosity, but his musicality as well.
Posted by: Dara

Re: Esbjorn Svensson and EST - Opinions? - 04/07/13 06:05 AM

Esbjorn was a wonderful pianist.
Heard a very special concert of his in Prague , back in 2001.
Posted by: chrisbell

Re: Esbjorn Svensson and EST - Opinions? - 04/07/13 06:45 AM

His music arranged and orchestrated for full orchestra.
Stockholm Concert Hall
Posted by: Dara

Re: Esbjorn Svensson and EST - Opinions? - 04/07/13 07:20 AM

thanks chrisbell,
but when i clicked on your link, didn't get the option for listening.
Posted by: chrisbell

Re: Esbjorn Svensson and EST - Opinions? - 04/07/13 07:42 AM

Listening? The concert is on the 12th of June. smile
Posted by: Dara

Re: Esbjorn Svensson and EST - Opinions? - 04/07/13 08:02 AM

thanks, chrisbell
are you going ?
if so, it would be nice to hear your response to this concert afterwards.
i'd love to be there.
Posted by: chrisbell

Re: Esbjorn Svensson and EST - Opinions? - 04/07/13 08:07 AM

Unfortunately no. I'm on tour.
Posted by: Dara

Re: Esbjorn Svensson and EST - Opinions? - 04/07/13 08:18 AM

Nice to speak with you,
The concert I heard was Esbjorn and Nils Landgren on trombone in a small concert hall in Prague. Wonderful performance and concert.

Best wishes on your tour.
Are you playing solo, with an ensemble ?
Posted by: chrisbell

Re: Esbjorn Svensson and EST - Opinions? - 04/07/13 09:13 AM

Chamber trio. Piano, double-bass, oboe/cor anglais
Posted by: Dara

Re: Esbjorn Svensson and EST - Opinions? - 04/07/13 10:00 AM

I'd enjoy to hear a recording of your trio.