Born: April 16, 1964 | Died: June 14, 2008 Primary Instrument: Piano
e.s.t. is a phenomenon: A jazz trio, which sees itself as a pop band that plays jazz, which broke with the tradition of leader and sidemen in favor of equality within its members, which not only plays jazz- venues but also venues usually reserved for rock bands, which uses light effects and fog-machines in their live shows, which gets a whole audience to sing-a-long with jazz-standards as eg. Thelonious Monk's Bemsha Swing, is a trio that goes beyond the scope of the usual classic jazz trio. Their music can be found in the pop-charts and their videos are playing on MTV Scandinavia. With their unique soundscape, combining jazz with drum 'n' bass, electronic elements, funk rhythm, and pop and rock as well as European Classical music, e.s.t. won an audience spanning from the classic jazz-fans to the youngest HipHop fans. Critics and audiences world-wide agree: e.s.t. is definitely one of the most innovative jazz bands of today.
Openness, curiosity, and a little bit of chance are all a part of Esbjörn Svensson's artistic foundation: I play piano because we didn't have any other instrument in the house. Actually, I would have rather played drums. For instance, as a kid, I put together a set out of old odds and ends, and tried to sound like Sweet on Ballroom Blitz. But then Magnus-ström came with his drums, and I decided to stay with the piano. Magnus and I grew up together, and have played together from the beginning. When Magnus was given his first drum set, he brought it over to my house, and we started playing. We had no idea how to play, but it was a lot of fun. Since we didn't have a teacher, and no one was telling us how to play, we were able to gradually develop our music in a very unique, individualistic way.
From the mid-eighties on, Svensson and--ström established themselves as inspiring sidemen in the Swedish and Danish jazz scenes. They formed their first trio in 1990, but it wasn't until 1993 that they got the necessary lift to get a CD off the ground. It was then that they met Dan Berglund. Both were fascinated by the structural strength and creative diversity of his playing and were able to entice Berglund into joining the trio.
In 1993 the Esbjörn Svensson Trio recorded and released their debut album, When Everyone Has Gone (Dragon): in 1995, the live recording Mr. & Mrs. Handkerchief (Prophone), which has been released in the rest of the World six years later under the title e.s.t. Live '95.
By the mid nineties the trio had made a name for themselves in Sweden and got a recording-deal with the pop-oriented label Superstudio Gul / Diesel Music. The first album for this label, released the same year, was E.S.T. Plays Monk, which quickly sold over 10.000 copies in Sweden. And the talented newcomers started to collect prizes: in 1995 and 1996 Esbjorn Svensson was awarded Swedish Jazz musician of the Year and 1998 Songwriter of the Year, and the 1997 release Winter in Venice--consisting mainly of original material--was awarded the Swedish Grammy.
The 1999 release of From Gagarin's Point of View was the first e.s.t. album to be released outside of Scandinavia through the German label ACT und live appearances at festivals as Jazz Baltica and Montreux marked the beginning of the international break-through of the band.
A year later the CD Good Morning Susie Soho was released and earned the trio the title Trio of the Year by Jazzwise, UK. e.s.t. toured on the Rising Stars Jazz Circuit and played all major festivals throughout Europe. The same time Sony Columbia USA released the first CD Somewhere Else Before a compilation from the European albums From Gagarin's Point of View and Good Morning Susie Soho in the USA.
Strange Place For Snow, e.s.t.'s 2002 release was supported by a 9-month tour through all European countries, but also the USA and Japan. Music from that album also became the soundtrack for the French movie Dans ma Peau directed by the french actress and screen writer (8 Women) Marina de Van. The album earned numerous awards for the band such as the Jahrespreis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik (from the German Phonoacademy), the German Jazz Award, Choc de l'annee (Jazzman, France), the Victoire du Jazz--the French Grammy--as best international act and also the Revelation of the Festival award, a special award from Midem.
In 2003 the band released Seven Days of Falling. The album immediately after release went into the pop album charts in Germany, France and Sweden (topping at No. 15). Besides in Europe the album was also released in the USA, Japan and South Korea. The band supported K.D. Lang on her tour throughout the USA performing in stadiums and large concert halls to over 50.000 people. More than 100.000 people watched them perform live in the 12 months after the release of Seven Days of Falling. As a result of all of this e.s.t. was awarded the Hans Koller prize as European Artist of the Year in December 2004--voted by 23 jazz industry professionals from 23 European countries.
Their latest release so far Viaticum(January 2005) has even surpassed the success of the previous albums. It went into the top 50 pop album charts in Germany and France and topped in Sweden on position 4. The band extensively toured the world to support the album release and appeared in major concert halls and festivals in Europe, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Canada and the USA. They were awarded a gold and a platinum German Jazz Award, the IAJE award and the Swedish Grammy and were the first European jazz band ever to grace the cover of the Downbeat jazz magazine in the USA (May 2006 issue). Not only in Europe e.s.t. have become a major concert attraction in their own right pulling large crowds all over the continents.
Their new album Tuesday Wonderland (release date: September 22nd 2006) connects directly to Viaticum. The interpretation of Viaticum was that the music is the provisions that you take with you on your journey through life. Tuesday Wonderland (is the spiritual journey itself that opens new worlds and guides you to the Wonderland of e.s.t.'s music. And the journey continues...
In 1995 and 1996 Esbjorn Svensson was selected the jazz musician of the year in Sweden. On June 14th 2008 Esbjorn Svensson, 44 years old, died during a diving accident yesterday outside of Vrmd near Stockholm. He was in a company of divers at a Swedish jetty/landing stage under supervision of a dive-leader when he was found severely injured at the bottom.
Somewhere Else Before (2008)
Live In Hamburg (2007)
Tuesday Wonderland (2006)
Seven Days Of Falling (2003)
e.s.t. live in Stockholm (2003)
Strange Place For Snow (2002)
Good Morning Susie Soho (2000)
From Gagarin’s Point Of View (1999)
Winter In Venice (1997)
EST Plays Monk (1996)
EST Live '95 (1995)
When Everyone Has Gone (1993)
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