EST Live 95

COMPOSERS: Esbjörn Svensson Trio
LABELS: ACT
ALBUM TITLE: Esbjörn Svensson Trio
PERFORMER: Esbjörn Svensson (p), Dan Berglund (b), Magnus Ostrom (d)
CATALOGUE NO: 9295-2

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Svensson’s trio came together in December 1993 and its second album was the oddly titled Mr and Mrs Handkerchief, recorded live in 1995. The trio’s remarkable Europe-wide success has prompted the re-release of this album under the title above. Even two years into its existence the group displayed a striking empathy; indeed, Svensson has spoken of how he sees himself as an equal member in his group, and not, as he put it, ‘a pianist with bass and drum accompaniment’, and this collective approach to the piano trio is well under way even then.

Clearly Svensson has studied the playing of Keith Jarrett from his Facing You phase and here he’s adding his own personal twist to it. He is also well aware of pianists Jan Johansson and Bobo Stenson. From these quite different musical personalities has emerged a voice that does not lose sight of the ‘Nordic Tone’, that hauntingly lonely, yet intense spirituality that colours this set.

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A bonus CD, a live version of ‘Dodge the Dodo’ recorded at the 1999 Montreux Festival, gives clear evidence of their artistic growth; impetuosity has given way to reason and a more intense, deeper-felt lyricism with the players of the group more aware of their musical relationship one to another. It bodes well for the future development of a trio that could well become one of the major exhibits in European jazz. Stuart Nicholson