EST - The Sound of Surprise

Out of the blue, with little fanfare and no advance warning, the Esbjörn Svensson Trio has just released a double CD Live In Hamburg recorded a year ago during the tour for the group’s last studio recording, Tuesday Wonderland. While live albums only occasionally work in their own right as a fair or satisfying representation of the full picture of what a musician has to offer, the Hamburg album makes an immediate impact by the group and displays a remarkable level of virtuosity given that little post production work was done to “improve” any of the imperfections a live performance almost invariably contains. The album, in the years to come, could stand as a landmark within the band’s discography in the way that the live Köln Concert album marks a special place within Keith Jarrett’s work. Selwyn Harris talks to Esbjörn Svensson about that remarkable day in Hamburg. EST - The Sound of Surprise
Europe’s foremost piano trio continues to set its own standards in live performance. Onstage, EST has gone it alone with its vision of a live experience that brings together sound and lights – but more of that a bit later. The trio’s celebrated telepathic-like interaction coupled with an epic sound that draws from a post-Jarrett sensibility, the full-on thrust of rock music and a contemporary post-rock ambience has been captured rather magnificently on a new double CD release titled Live in Hamburg. Originally recorded by NDR radio on the German leg of their Tuesday Wonderland tour at the Musikhalle in November 2006, the album has been released by the trio’s long-serving Munich-based record company ACT in the middle of the long run up to Christmas, a notoriously quiet period in the record industry.

“There hasn’t really been the right timing to do it for some reason,” says their calmly spoken pianist Esbjörn Svensson, talking to me down the line from Sweden. “But this show was broadcast by German radio, and Siggi Loch, who owns our record company, got a recording and he just loved it. He just convinced us to release it. After hearing it I must say also that I think the timing was quite good as well. I believe lots of people, or at least some EST fans, are waiting for a live album. And this is a good concert, well recorded and the conditions all around it was good, the hall was sounding nice and the piano was fantastic.”

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