Esbjorn Svensson Trio: Somewhere Else Before
One of the new music's most successful exponents is E.S.T., or the Esbjörn Svensson Trio, led by the Swedish pianist. In August Columbia will handle the U.S. release of Somewhere Else Before, a compilation of tracks from the group's two previous European discs, From Gagarin's Point of View and Good Morning Susie Soho. It's a striking collectionmore acoustic than electric, moving from picturesque, John Taylor-style piano balladry ("Somewhere Else Before," "The Chapel") to hip, agitated breakbeats ("The Wraith") in a heartbeat. At times it can get a little too poppy. ( Good Morning Susie Soho didn't climb to number 15 on the Swedish pop charts for nothing.) "Dodge the Dodo," for instance, begins with a driving, intense electronic groove; but when the band comes in there's something a bit vanilla and Hornsby-esque about the harmony.
Are Svensson and his colleagues serious jazz players, then? There's no doubt whatsoever. But while they're highly adept in the classic piano trio mold, they're also interested in pushing beyond it. At their best, like on the riotously polyrhythmic "Spam-Boo-Limbo" or the minimalist, faux-electronic "From Gagarin's Point of View," E.S.T. are indeed doing something new and vital. Somewhere Else Before, then, is a qualified success. More than anything, it ought to draw Americans' attention to some of the new jazz conceptions coming out of Europe.
Track Listing: 1. Somewhere Else Before 2. Dodge the Dodo 3. From Gagarin's Point of View 4. The Return of Mohammed 5. The Face of Love 6. Pavanne "Thoughts of a Septuagenarian" 7. The Wraith 8. The Chapel 9. In the Face of Day 10. Spam-Boo-Limbo 11. Hidden Track
Record Label: Columbia Records