Esbjörn Svensson Trio have long been favourites at the London Jazz Festival, but this evening was different: it was a tribute to their pianist-leader Svensson, who died last summer in a scuba-diving accident, aged 44.
A video shown of Elevation of Love, from EST's Seven Days of Falling album, with its lyrical, flowing piano lines, and warm intensity from the 2003 London Jazz Festival, was a reminder of how totemic the jazz trio has been in the evolution of 21st-century European jazz.
Still, after eight albums including last year's , and an ever-increasing performance schedule that has seen them become one of the most popular jazz touring acts in Europe with some forays into the American market, is it possible that e.s.t.
has begun to fall prey to its own devices, sacrificing innovation for formula? The common elements are all there: Berglund's distorted arco supplementing his supple pizzicato, Esbjörn Svensson's subtle electronic keyboard shadings tastefully enhancing his more dominant acoustic piano voice, and drummer Magnus Oström's combination of traditional drum kit with extended percussive techniques.
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