Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Tragedy & Sadness

On June 14th, Esbjorn Svensson died while scuba-diving in the Stockholm Archipelago. Forty-four. That's how young he was. As one of the founders of the Esbjorn Svensson Trio (usually simply known as E.S.T.), he had been one of the leaders in European jazz. Some of the group's earlier albums never made it state-side but their releases in the last 5-6 years were readily available here. A critic's delight, E.S.T. has had a tough time breaking in over the Atlantic. Each new album promised to be the key to their stardom. I latched on to them when they released Somewhere Else Before in 2001 and have been a loyal fan since then.

Well, sort of loyal. Early on last year, E.S.T. was scheduled to play at Zanzibar Blue Jazz Club in Philly. Something came up and I opted not to go, figuring the boys were still very young and they'd come around the following year. That April, Zanzibar Blue closed its doors, putting a serious hurt on live jazz in Philly.

Saturday, Esbjorn Svensson died at an all too early 44. My flippant attitude last year comes back to haunt me; I never had a chance to see this talented group.

I can't see the group going on without him. What a tragedy. Perhaps Nick Bartsch's Ronin, Marcin Wasilewski, and Bad Plus can carry on in the spirit of things.

This Sunday I have one of my dj-ing gigs at WVUD. It'll be a heavy portion of E.S.T., for sure.

Other tributes are here, here, and here. He was one of the good guys.

06/23/08: As pointed out by Chazzy G, here's a commentary of E.S.T. from The Bad Plus' blog, Do The Math. There's an interesting bit about the importance of having a great sound engineer.

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Somehow you never got around to tipping me off to E.S.T., but as fate (?) would have it, I had just discovered their music and found it to be very much to my liking. I had just purchased my first E.S.T. album on iTunes the same day I got the news about Svensson's accident. A fabulous musical talent is lost.
Mr. T.,
Please accept my apologies for the lack of tipping. The only defense I have is that it's been suggested to me (by various family elements, they being Au and Pt) that my musical suggestions put too much pressure on the recepient of my suggestion. Speaking periodically, I guess, my suggestions are Element 118.

I'll be more than happy to send you some of E.S.T's recordings. Which one did you get; I'll send some others.
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