While André Previn being one of the jazz pianists of the older generation I admire, Esbjörn Svensson, together with Brad Mehldau and Fred Hersch, are the three from the younger generation whom I think most highly of. Therefore I am sad to learn that Svensson was killed in a scuba diving accident in Stockholm archipelago last Saturday.
Svensson formed the Esbjörn Svensson Trio, as known as E.S.T. in 1990 with double bassist Dan Berglund and drummer Magnus Öström. Besides their technical brilliance and lyricism (particularly in Svensson’s playing), their subtle use of electronics and distortion add a grainier layer to the musical fabric which I find mesmerising and very beautiful.
For those of you who have never heard of E.S.T., listen to Strange Place for Snow (2002) – that is where I started, and it is spellbinding.