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Thursday, March 08, 2012

CD Review: Esbjorn Svensson Trio – “301”

Rather unfortunately I never got to see the Esbjorn Svensson Trio play live before the untimely, unfortunate and tragic death of Svennson himself a few years ago, but I was most pleased to have recently been handed a copy to review of the bands new post humus album release entitled “301”, named quite simply due to it’s location of recording, at Studio 301 in Sydney, Australia.
The album features seven tracks in total and runs at just past an hour. For me the tracks “Inner City, Inner Lights”  and “Three Falling Free Part Two”  are the stand out numbers if I had to pick, but ultimately  this is a real journey album, a piece you want to sit and listen through from to start to finish proper, a slow and deliberate, delicate and fragile record, to absorb the meaning and content to it’s full expression, to let it wash through you and understand the whole rather than the individual compositions or indeed the individual group members themselves.
The music is beautifully textural and layered, the classic Jazz Trio of Piano, Bass and Drums, with the added ingredient of Electronics which rather than clutter the music actually furthers to create a depth and spaciousness that allows the rhythm and melody to step slowly forward. Indeed this is tranquil music, cinematic and orchestral, laid back, but by no means lazy.
This is most definitely a modern Jazz record, a record full of blues and hypnotism with a foot and seed firmly rooted in something older, something deeper ,a respect for origins but rather than rest on the laurels of the past it remains progressive whilst quietly nodding it’s head and tipping it’s hat, blood runs thick.
With that in mind it’s as easy to reference the likes of the French pop band “Air” as much as it would the great Jazz pianist Paul Bley, and whilst Esbjorn Svensson, Dan Berglund and Magnus Ostrum provide the core of the music for the record the added ingredient of regular live sound and recording engineer and sound processor Ake Linton there’s a kind of Brian Enoesque feeling that runs through the record, the fourth member of the trio if you will, another something else.
To my mind that key element of crossover is what I find attractive and exciting about E.S.T. The music isn’t deliberately “out there” but sometimes cant help find itself in that realm as much as it might then return to a more formal and recognised structure, such is the nature of a record compiled from a collection of nine hours worth of jamming from four well adept and open minded musicians who have worked up to this point together for fourteen years as well as individually for undoubtedly all their lives, indeed there is an understanding between players which can well be heard.
A brief note on production would be to say that the record sounds great, a lovely warm recording with everything well balanced and cutting through, but most importantly the feeling is captured, a testament to what a great band and gang of improvisers E.S.T really were and for the most part will always remain in the Jazz public consciousness, for those who choose to listen.
Wesley Stephenson.
Esbjorn Svensson Trio: 301. ACT 90292. Release date March 26, 2012.


Judy Coo (On Facebook). said...

This will be going in my shopping basket and lucky me its released on my birthday too :-)

Daniel Reed (On Facebook). said...

Ive got the Best of E.S.T: Such a great trio, never really know what is going to happen next!

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