I post news about the Esbjörn Svensson Trio when I hear it, for those of you who miss the group as much as I do. I often wonder where they would have gone and what they would have done after Leucocyte, their final CD.
Released a few months after pianist Svensson's tragic death in a scuba diving accident in June 2008, Leucocyte is e.s.t.'s only album of start-to-finish free improvisation. It was recorded in a studio in Australia while they were touring in January 2007, mixed and mastered in early 2008, and ready for commercial release when Svensson died (in other words, not patched together ghoulishly to capitalize on his death). It's a series of studio jam sessions that were later textured, distorted, manipulated, and salted with static, but some moments sound much like the music I heard Svensson, bassist Dan Berglund, and drummer Magnus Ostrom play live over the years.
Aside for the track "Leucocyte: II. Ad Interim," which is totally blank, and 20 seconds of dead air at the end of "Ajar" (silence is something e.s.t. also used on Tuesday Wonderland, Viaticum, and Good Morning Susie Soho, and I always found it more annoying than enlightening), Leucocyte has a lot of what I loved about e.s.t.: tenderness, lyricism, soaring beauty, head-banging rock-star moments, and plenty of electronic noise.
Sometimes noise meets lyricism, as at the start of the aptly-named track "Jazz," which begins with sci-fi sounds, then Svensson's piano walks in and it's pure piano trio with lots of speedy bebop flourishes (and Keith Jarrett-like vocalizations--Svensson's?). Near the end, it slows and simplifies to lingering soft notes on bass and piano.
There's a video clip on the website that features the track "Leucocyte: 1. Ab Initio" over a montage of live concert and tour footage. Turn up your computer speakers and enjoy.
Here's the news I received early this morning from B.H. Hopper Management.
Today a compilation called “e.s.t. – Retrospective – The very best of e.s.t.” (ACT) will be released worldwide. It contains the e.s.t. hit songs Dodge the Dodo, From Gagarin´s Point of View, Behind the Yashmak, Viaticum, Goldwrap and many more. Altogether 13 tracks from 7 award winning albums.
The compilation has been put together by Magnus Öström, Dan Berglund and Burkhard Hopper and in a 22-page booklet they tell the story behind each of the twelve e.s.t. albums.
It is the ideal starting point for newcomers to their music and a definitive signpost along the way for those who have already begun their journey into the world of e.s.t.
Dan and Magnus have also been busy with other projects:
Magnus Öström produced an album for his fellow countrywoman Janet Lindstroem containing a duo with former Soft Machine singer Robert Wyatt.
Dan Berglund is in the middle of recording a solo-project for ACT, which will get released in January 2010 and will be supported by touring from March 2010 onwards (the first tour dates you can find on www.hoppermanagement.com <http://www.hoppermanagement.com> ). For this solo-project he has put together a quartet of great Swedish musicians: Johan Lindstroem on guitar, Martin Hederos on piano and Andreas Werliin on drums and of course himself on bass. All the songs for the new album will be original tunes. Dan is very much looking forward to seeing all of you next year at his shows again!
Nothing scheduled for the US yet.
I wrote a review of Tuesday Wonderland in April 2007 for jazzpolice.com and have just pulled it onto the blog. Find it here if you want. Once again, I bitch about the long silences. Sorry about that.