Good Morning Susie Soho (Sony Music)
Esbjörn Svensson Trio
Released September 27, 2000
JazzWise Album of the Year 2000
Traditionally, jazz is by invitation only. Those in the know guard their secrets tightly, and deviants are regarded with a certain amount of suspicion. To be commercial is to sell out and if you sell out you’ll loose the hard core fans.
Not so with Esbjörn Svensson Trio. The trio has sold three times as many albums as jazz acts normally do, but they still manage to stay on the good side of jazz aficionados and critics. The trio plays upwards of 100 shows each year to a very varied audience. Besides the usual jazz audience you’d be as likely to spot a little old lady as an advertising exec or high school kids. This year, the trio will include matinees on their tours to give their younger fans a chance to see them live. Their favourite moments are spent improvising on stage, and this is how they keep their material fresh and ever evolving.
No two shows are the same and to a large extent, the band tries to capture this loose, improvisational vibe on record, and they rarely do more than one take in the studio. The recording process that led to “From Gagarin’s Point of View” (ACT 9005-2), that also became the first Swedish jazz video shown on MTV, is significant to how the band works: “We were working on another project, and had a few hours to spare, so we sat down and played a few songs”, Esbjörn says. “Those songs make up about half the album, with the other half recorded in two similar sessions”. “Keeping the spontaneity is extremely important to us”, explains Magnus. Esbjörn Svensson can’t imagine life without music. He’s been making noise for as long as he can remember; on pots, pans, tabletops and briefly playing the mandolin before settling in by the piano. Grade school was spent planning tours and designing album covers for the bands he was in, most of them including drummer Magnus Öström. 1993 Dan Berglund joined the band, and the three of them have since held what they call a “musical conversation” the critics call it “breathlessly beautiful”, “the most touching moment I’ve ever heard on record”, “a brutal force” and “jazz at it’s best”. The critical acclaim and awards haven’t changed how the three good friends view their musicianship. “We set the highest standards for ourselves. What anybody else thinks is secondary”, Dan states. “We are still inspired by any and all music; Björk is one of my personal favourites”, says the former metalhead. No surprise then, that the collaborations that the trio has been involved in have spanned a wide variety of Sweden’s most successful artists. Their 1997 recorded album “Winter in Venice” (ACT 9007-2) received the Swedish Grammy.
1. Somewhere Else Before (Dan Berglund / Esbjörn Svensson Trio 5:35
2. Do the Jangle (Dan Berglund / Esbjörn Svensson Trio) 5:58
3. Serenity (Dan Berglund / Esbjörn Svensson Trio) 1:50
4. Wraith (Dan Berglund / Esbjörn Svensson Trio) 9:20
5. Last Letter From Lithuania (Dan Berglund / Esbjörn Svensson Trio) 4:10
6. Good Morning Susie Soho (Dan Berglund / Esbjörn Svensson Trio) 5:51
7. Providence (Dan Berglund / Esbjörn Svensson Trio) 4:53
8. Pavane (Thoughts of a Septuagenarian) (Dan Berglund / Esbjörn Svensson Trio) 3:43
9. Spam-Boo-Limbo (Dan Berglund / Esbjörn Svensson Trio) 4:39
10. Face of Love 6:51
11. Reminiscence of a Soul (Dan Berglund / Esbjörn Svensson Trio) 11:59
Esbjörn Svensson: piano
Dan Berglund: bass
Magnus Öström: drums
Recorded March – April 2000, at Atlantis Studio, by Janne Hansson
Mastered by Johan Ekelund Photography: Jonas “Joker” Berggren
Produced by e.s.t.
Fantastic, they’re back! EST – pianist Esbjörn Svensson together with Dan Berglund on bass and Magnus Ostrom on drums, the most inventive piano trio to arrive on the scene in years – deliver the follow up to last year’s outstanding From Gagarin’s Point Of View. EST are redefining the art of the piano trio. Impossible, I hear you cry; well, listening to their new album makes me realise that the impossible has been achieved. This is an awesome work of immense power, beauty and futuristic musical vision. This is an unbelievably essential album – from the beautifully reflective opener ‘Somewhere Else Before’ to the mind-blowing nine-plus minutes epic ‘The Wraith’ you know you are listening to important music (and how often can you say that these days?). The Esbjörn Svensson Trio was formed in 1993, a constant lineup for this forward-thinking trio has aided the development and success they strive for and so richly deserve. With this latest instalment of their musical vision, EST have definitely established themselves as the forward thinking contemporary piano trio.
Mike Chadwick (Jazzwise)