An excellent new age jazz group
K. N. Nelson | California, USA | 06/21/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"To the international world of music's everlasting loss, Esbjorn Svensson died from a scuba diving accident this past week. May he Rest in Peace. Thankfully, he left a musical legacy worth talking about. On this album the music is so rich with experimentation and excitement that it is dazzling. I love the way his fingers dance over the keys and he tantalizes you with riffs that feel fresh and new all the way through this CD. He never overplays or hammers the keys. The first song "The Message" starts off easy and builds excitement as it moves toward the next songs which tell even deeper stories of this trio's depth as artists. All the songs are delicious; however, my favorite on the entire CD is the 10:22 long study of eastern influences on song #4 "Behind the Yashmak". The song ending is just magnificent and a bit of a shock. Listen and see what that means. Song #5 "Bound for the Beauty of the South" is haunting and very sweet. Song #6 "Years of Yearning" reveals a shimmering percussion effect that you can feel like shivers racing down your spine in this melancholic song. Song #9 "Spunky Sprawl" is very hip and a lot of fun with some amazing bass work. Great CD."
petaloka | NY State | 04/04/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Sad and tragic to have lost such a fine young man. This CD was made for listening to with headphones on a hammock on a quiet summer evening."
Triangulated Cold Fusion
loce_the_wizard | Lilburn, GA USA | 02/17/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The triangle is the simplest geometric figure, one with properties that make it useful, stable, strong, and versatile. R. Buckminster Fuller used triangles as the core building block in his geodesic domes because they evenly distribute stress and provide a high strength-to-weight ratio for further expansion.
I'm not versed in music theory or skilled in playing anything more than a CD (my piano instructor in college encouraged me to quit), but I know enough to appreciate a generous does of talent and creativity permeates "Strange Place for Snow." E.S.T., short for the Esbjörn Svensson, Trio, exploits all the strengths of a trio, allowing each member opportunities to take the lead role, to play the sideman, to function equally.
Pianist/keyboardist Esbjörn Svensson, bassist Daniel Berglund, and drummer Magnus Öström create a sensational melding of sound that taps into experimental tones, right-on improvisation, and layers of sound and melody. Sometime the music seems to be going two directions at once, like an icicle freezing on one side and melting on the other. What seems a facile melody evolves (or devolves depending on one's perspective) into a complex interplay, a weaving together of what might sound unconnected in the hands of lesser performers.
The songs sometimes startle in their starkly different tones, leaving one not quite ready to let go of the fading chords of one song as the next begins to unfold. (The bonus track here, like the one on E.S.T.'s 2001 release Somewhere Else Before is a bit odd, some of like a thumb in your ear.)
There is something of the bright, cold north infused in this jazz, but nothing like a sluggish complacency. E.S.T. takes the possibilities of what a trio can accomplish and delivers a well-burnished montage. This is a trio of equals, each able to handle the stress and joy that comes with cutting edge creativity.