I’ve received quite a bit of feedback on my posts on my 25 essential Jazz albums. Many of them were asking why artist X, Y or Z wasn’t listed. Most of these had a point.
The Esbjörn Svensson Trio
One example is the Esbjörn Svensson Trio (e.s.t.). Why didn’t I list it? if we do a brief history of (no, not time, come on guys, I’m not Stephen Hawking) the Jazz Piano Trio, from its early starts in the 1950s with the like of Art Tatum, Errol Garner, and Oscar Peterson, I see three major steps in the development:
Bill Evans took this art form to a much higher intellectual level, and made sure all 3 musician are true partners. Keith Jarrett took over when Bill unfortunately left us and dominated the art for for twenty years, until a bunch of Scandinavians around Esbjörn Svensson came, and brought this art form to the 21st century, and introducing it to audiences way beyond the traditional Jazz audience, as there is a lot of rock and electronic influence.
So why the heck haven’t I reviewed any album of this trio yet (although to be fair I mention it regularly)? The answer is easy, e..t. is a bit too much out of the box for me on most of their albums (I’m a guy who’s extremely comfortable IN the box!). There’s usually some “craziness” going on, and quite often just a bit too much for my personal taste. That said, I fully recognize their importance. Unfortunately we lost an outstanding musician when Esbjörn died in a diving accident in 2008.
Live in Hamburg
This 2007 live album (released on ACT) from a late 2006 concert (in Hamburg obviously) is just outstanding, and shows e.s.t. at their peak.
There is still some craziness ongoing (e.g. Definition of A Dog), but overall it is tame enough for my ears to really enjoy it,. And then, there is just tons of energy, including outstanding 17:39 minute long tracks like Dolores In A Shoestand. There is not a minute of boredom. This is two hours of pure adrenaline!
My rating: 5 stars
You can get it here (Qobuz), or go for the high quality 4 vinyl edition