During the late 90s and throughout the 00s some of the best Jazz wasn’t coming from the USA or even mainland Europe, but in from the Scandinavian countries and without a doubt the grand masters of Scandinavia were the Swedish piano trio EST: the Esbjorn Svensson Trio.
My first introduction to them was thanks to a feature in Jazzwise magazine which prompted me to buy their then new album Strange Place for Snow. Unlike a lot of successful artists of the time, the album and most of the following albums were filled with original compositions. Strange Place for Snow had some great track titles such as “And God Created the Coffee Break”, “Behind the Yashmak” and “Yearning for the Beauty of the South”. Many of the tracks used minimalism and space to vast degrees of success, Beauty of the South focuses on the efforts of Bass player Daniel Burgland, while the 10 minute long “Behind the Yashmak” takes time to travel from a minimalist approach to a more frantic ending before reaching a very sudden ending.
Sadly Esbjorn Svensson was taken from us at the age of 42 following a Scuba Diving accident and that was the end of EST. Drummer Magnus Ostrum went on to form his own band though I never did listen.
Last year when talking about Esbjorn it became apparent that had he not died his next set would be to do something symphonic. So it was arranged that the Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra were to be involved in symphonic adaptions of his compositions. EST: Symphony is probably my favourite album of 2016 and it both acts as a tribute and a tantilising glimpse of what might have been. Oh and the arrangement of Behind the Yashmak completely reinvents the sudden ending.
In response to the Daily Prompt Symphony