October 30, 2007

Esbjorn Svensson Trio

Went to a good concert last week. It's good having The Arts Centre on your doorstep. Back in 1983 we (Paddy Flavelle and me) bought a series of tickets for Jazz (cheaper if you got  a pass for all of them). There was everything from stuff we already knew (Barbara Thompson) and stuff we hadn't (Erene Sweitzer) and it was the start of an on-off but mostly on love affair with Jazz.

These days I like Tord Gustavson alot but EST (Esbjorn Svensson Trio) are really up there - they have a real range. They played a good deal from Viaticum - this is their newest offering and has a more awkward and darker tone than other albums.

What was really provocative about the performance was the genre dialogue between Portishead type atmos-ambience and hendrix type bass guitar felatio and then more standard experimental Jarretty stuff. Sometimes it goes off on a melodic journey and then comes crashing into a pink floyd moment and within single tracks there's cinemascope and portable Radiohead sound bites.

There's not doubt that they owe a debt to Jarrett but you don't get quite so much elegiac meandering. Svensson's piano style is wonderful but it Dan Berglund's range on the bass that keeps you constantly wondering what's coming next. He keeps up the bass rythym, puts in drone and theromin (?) type waverings, lead solos and harmonics.  Magnus Ostrom adds texture and occasional solos but his solos are a little contained and I reckon he should push the boat out in the same way as Ostrom,

I liked this latest EST chapter and if you get the chance to see it, go.

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