Esbjorn Svensson Trio
e.s.t. is a phenomenon: A jazztrio, which sees itself as a popband that plays jazz, which broke with the tradition of leader and sidemen in favour of equality within its members, which not only plays jazz-venues but also venues usually reserved for rockbands, which uses light effects and fog-machines in their live shows, which gets a whole audience to sing-a-long with jazz-standards as eg. Thelonius Monk's "Bemsha Swing", is a trio that goes beyond the scope of the usual classic jazztrio. Their music can be found in the pop-charts and their videos are playing on MTV Scandinavia. With their unique soundscape, combining jazz with drum 'n' bass, electronic elements, funk rhythm, and pop and rock as well as European Classical music, e.s.t. won an audience spanning from the classic jazz-fans to the youngest HipHop fans. Critics and audiences world-wide agree: e.s.t. is definately one of the most innovative jazzbands of today.
Openness, curiosity, and a little bit of chance are all a part of Esbjorn Svensson's artistic foundation: "I play piano because we didn't have any other instrument in the house. Actually, I would have rather played drums. For instance, as a kid, I put together a set out of old odds and ends, and tried to sound like "Sweet" on "Ballroom Blitz". But then Magnus Ostrom came with his drums, and I decided to stay with the piano. Magnus and I grew up together, and have played together from the beginning. When Magnus was given his first drum set, he brought it over to my house, and we started playing. We had no idea how to play, but it was a lot of fun. Since we didn't have a teacher, and no one was telling us how to play, we were able to gradually develop our music in a very unique, individualistic way."
From the mid-eighties on, Svensson and Ostrom established themselves as inspiring sidemen in the Swedish and Danish jazz scenes. They formed their first trio in 1990, but it wasn't until 1993 that they got the necessary lift to get a CD off the ground. It was then that they met Dan Berglund. Both were fascinated by the structural strength and creative diversity of his playing and were able to entice Berglund into joining the trio.
In 1993 the Esbjorn Svensson Trio recorded and released their debut album, "When Everyone Has Gone" (Dragon): in 1995, the live recording "Mr. & Mrs. Handkerchief" (Prophone), which has been released in the rest of the World six years later under the title "e.s.t. Live '95".
By the mid nineties the trio had made a name for themselves in Sweden and got a recording-deal with the pop-oriented label Superstudio Gul / Diesel Music. The first album for this label, released the same year, was "E.S.T. Plays Monk", which quickly sold over 10.000 copies in Sweden. And the talented newcomers started to collect prizes: in 1995 and 1996 Esbjorn Svensson was awarded Swedish Jazzmusician of the Year and 1998 Songwriter of the Year, and the 1997 release "Winter in Venice" - consisting mainly of original material - was awarded the Swedish Grammy.
The 1999 release of "From Gagarin's Point of View" was the first e.s.t. album to be released outside of Scandinavia through the German label ACT und live appearances at festivals as JazzBaltica and Montreux marked the beginning of the international break-through of the band.
A year later the CD "Good Morning Susie Soho" was released and earned the trio the title "Trio of the Year" by Jazzwise, UK. e.s.t. toured on the "RISING STARS" Jazz Circuit and played all major festivals throughout Europe. The same time Sony Columbia USA released the first CD "Somewhere Else Before" a compilation from the European albums "From Gagarinґs Point of View" and Good Morning Susie Soho" in the USA.
"Strange Place For Snow", e.s.t.ґs 2002 release was supported by a 9-month tour through all European countries, but also the USA and Japan. Music from that album also became the soundtrack for the French movie "Dans ma Peau" directed by the french actress and screen writer (8 Women) Marina de Van. The album earned numerous awards for the band such as the "Jahrespreis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik" (from the German Phonoacademy), the "German Jazz Award", "Choc de l'annee" (Jazzman, France), the "Victoire du Jazz" - the French Grammy - as best international act and also the "Relevation of the Festival" award, a special award from Midem.
In 2003 the band released their latest album so far called "Seven Days of Falling". The album immediately after release went into the pop album charts in Germany, France and Sweden (topping at No. 15). Besides in Europe the album was also released in the USA, Japan and South Corea. The band supported K.D. Lang on her tour throughout the USA performing in stadiums and large concert halls to over 50.000 people.
In Europe e.s.t. have become a major concert attraction in their own right pulling large crowds all over the continent. More than 100.000 people watched them perform live in the 12 months after the release of "Seven Days of Falling". As a result of all of this e.s.t. will be awarded in December 2004 the Hans Koller prize as "European Artist of the Year" voted by 23 jazz industry professionals from 23 European countries.
And the journey continues: On January 24, 2005 their next album "Viaticum" is scheduled to get released in Europe. Viaticum is the ancient Roman expression for food that you take with you on a journey (in this world or into the next) and e.s.t.ґs journey will continue with extensive touring from March 2005 onward and it will take them to major concert halls and festivals in Europe, Japan, Corea, China, Australia and also the USA.