B i o g r a p h y
(by Official Site)
is a phenomenon: A jazztrio, which sees itself as a popband that plays
jazz, which broke with the tradition of leader and sidemen in favour of
equality within its members, which not only plays jazz-venues but also
venues usually reserved for rockbands, 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. Thelonius Monk's "Bemsha Swing", is
a trio that goes beyond the scope of the usual classic jazztrio. 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 definately one of the most innovative jazzbands of today.
Openness, curiosity, and a little bit of chance are all a part of Esbjorn
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 Ostrom
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
From the mid-eighties on, Svensson and Öström 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 Jazzmusician 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 JazzBaltica 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'année" (Jazzman,
France), the "Victoire du Jazz" - the French Grammy - as best
international act and also the "Relevation of the Festival" award, a
special award from Midem. In 2003 the band released their latest album so
far called "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 Corea. The band supported K.D. Lang on her tour throughout the
USA performing in stadiums and large concert halls to over 50.000 people.
In Europe e.s.t. have become a major concert attraction in their own right
pulling large crowds all over the continent. 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. will be awarded in
December 2004 the Hans Koller prize as "European Artist of the Year" voted
by 23 jazz industry professionals from 23 European countries. And the
journey continues: On January 24, 2005 their next album "Viaticum" is
scheduled to get released in Europe. Viaticum is the ancient Roman
expression for food that you take with you on a journey (in this world or
into the next) and e.s.t.´s journey will continue with extensive touring
from March 2005 onward and it will take them to major concert halls and
festivals in Europe, Japan, Corea, China, Australia and also the USA. Esbjorn
Svensson died in an accident on June 14, 2008.