EST - Polyphonic spree

EST return this month with their tenth album, their first since the live version of Viaticum was issued as a special package last year along with the original studio album. Such a remarkable record company response was indicative of the initial album’s popularity, with strong demand in the UK and many other parts of Europe. So much for the album’s title tease that the group was performing its last rites. The group over more than a decade has achieved extraordinary levels of success for a jazz trio on the international jazz circuit, especially in the last five years.

Even the notoriously insular American jazz community has responded warmly, if tardily, to pianist Esbjörn Svensson, bassist Dan Berglund and drummer Magnus Öström. With their hi-tech light show, cranked up concert hall sound, and positive overtures to young rock fans – crucially without the lovingly honed but ubiquitous Radiohead covers – plus a finely honed post-Jarrett European group mentality, EST make perfect sense. It’s with a sense of the baroque that EST turns to as the backdrop to their new album, as Esbjörn Svensson tells Stuart Nicholson EST - Polyphonic spree
Bach’s Das Wohltemperierte Klavier, known to piano students throughout the English-speaking world as The-Well Tempered Clavier, may seem an unlikely source of inspiration for EST’s latest album Tuesday Wonderland. After all, Bach’s collection of 48 paired preludes and fugues in all major and minor keys, “compiled and prepared for the benefit and practice of young musicians desirous of learning,” as the translation of the original German title from 1722 reminds us, might not seem at first blush to be the sort of thing calculated to get a jazz musician’s pulse racing. However, for pianist Esbjörn Svensson, these epoch-making studies provided just the sort of compositional challenge he thrives upon.

“My first idea about this album was that I was going to compose Das Wohltemperierte Klavier for the trio,” he says, on a brilliant summer’s morning inside a luxury hotel adjacent to London’s Heathrow airport. He’s just flown in from Stockholm to talk to the UK media about the forthcoming release. “It was a huge project containing one prelude and one fugue in each key, so altogether it was going to be 48 tunes or pieces of music. That was my initial idea and I worked really hard to come up with some music.” However, Svensson has often said he knows an EST track once he has heard it played by the group, but has no idea of what the formula is, even during the compositional process. When he came, then, to try out some of his new compositions with long-time associates Dan Berglund on bass and Magnus Öström on drums, he was disappointed that nothing was working out quite as he intended.

“We tried some of it and we were not really sure. We actually had a recording session, just one day, where we tried out things to see if we were going in the right direction. It really felt, all of us, like it’s OK but it’s not what we should do. There was too much composing, it didn’t really breathe the way EST should breathe. I agreed, even though I composed the music. This project is about the three of us. Everybody has to feel perfect when we play our compositions, otherwise it won’t work.”

To read the rest of this article subscribe here

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website

If you do not change browser settings, you consent to continue. Learn more

I understand

Featured Artists

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
Prev Next
Life-changing jazz albums: 'Charlie Parker with Strings'

Life-changing jazz albums: 'Charlie Park…

Keyboard-player Lonnie Liston Smith talks about the album that changed his life, Charlie Parker With Strings, by Charlie Parker. Interview by Brian Glasser I know the one straight away – it...

Read More.....
Life-changing jazz albums: 'Sunday at the Village Vanguard' by the Bill Evans Trio

Life-changing jazz albums: 'Sunday at th…

Bassist Miroslav Vitous talks about the album that changed his life, Sunday at the Village Vanguard, by the Bill Evans Trio. Interview by Brian Glasser The one album for me goes...

Read More.....
Life-changing jazz albums: 'Spiritual Unity' by the Albert Ayler Trio

Life-changing jazz albums: 'Spiritual Un…

Saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings talks about the album that changed his life, Spiritual Unity, by the Albert Ayler Trio. Interview by Brian Glasser It was really easy for me to decide: Albert...

Read More.....
Life-changing jazz albums: Miles Davis' 'In A Silent Way'

Life-changing jazz albums: Miles Davis' …

Clarinettist Arun Ghosh talks about the album that changed his life, In A Silent Way, by Miles Davis. Interview by Brian Glasser I first heard this when I was 20 or...

Read More.....
Binker & Moses: twin peaks

Binker & Moses: twin peaks

The debut long-player, Dem Ones, from young-gun sax and drums duo Binker & Moses, garnered the prodigious pair some serious critical heat. Their forthright improv-heavy, beat-fuelled approach has also resonated...

Read More.....
Christian Scott interview: “Not everyone in America enjoys the same type of freedom”

Christian Scott interview: “Not everyone…

New Orleans-born trumpeter Christian Scott has emerged over the last decade as a leading figure in the vanguard of younger musicians bringing jazz to a wider audience. Drawing on his...

Read More.....
Such Sweet Thunder: inside Duke Ellington's literary world

Such Sweet Thunder: inside Duke Ellingto…

A crucial but frequently overlooked aspect of Duke Ellington's creative life was his engagement with literature. From Shakespeare to Steinbeck, Ellington's love of the written word inspired much of his...

Read More.....
John Coltrane: Beyond the Holy Mountain

John Coltrane: Beyond the Holy Mountain

This month marks the 50th anniversary of the passing of John Coltrane, one of the true musical giants of the 20th century whose monumental legacy casts a considerable shadow across...

Read More.....
Thelonious Monk: essential recordings

Thelonious Monk: essential recordings

A completely unique pianist and composer, Thelonious Monk was born 100 years ago, in October 1917. His recordings (both live and in the studio) continue to inspire jazz musicians today...

Read More.....

ABJazzWise


Subcribe To Jazzwise

Advertisement

Call 0800 137201 to subscribe or click here to email the subscriptions team

Get in touch

Jazzwise Magazine,
St. Judes Church,
Dulwich Road, 
Herne Hill,
London, SE24 0PD.

0208 677 0012

Latest Tweets

@johnchantler go for a Killers and a raspberry ripple
Follow Us - @Jazzwise
@frozenreeds @BrokenBiros yeah, this is fun too
Follow Us - @Jazzwise

Newsletter

Sign up to the Jazzwise monthly E-Newsletter

 

© 2016 MA Business & Leisure Ltd registered in England and Wales number 02923699 Registered office: Jesses Farm, Snow Hill, Dinton, Salisbury, SP3 5HN . Designed By SE24 MEDIA