Esbjörn Svensson Trio – Tuesday Wonderland (2006)

FrontCover1Esbjörn Svensson Trio (or e.s.t.) was a Swedish jazz piano trio formed in 1993 consisting of Esbjörn Svensson (piano), Dan Berglund (double bass), and Magnus Öström (drums). Its music has classical, rock, pop, and techno elements. It lists classical composer Béla Bartók and rock band Radiohead as influences. Its style involves conventional jazz and the use of electronic effects and multitrack recording.

The trio deliberately blurred genres, with Svensson’s musical catholicism drawing on a wide variety of artist influences. e.s.t. was also renowned for its vibrant style in live performances, often playing in rock and roll oriented venues to young crowds. It achieved great commercial success and critical acclaim throughout Europe. Its 1999 release From Gagarin’s Point of View started its international breakthrough, being the first e.s.t. album to be released outside of Scandinavia through the German label ACT.

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Svensson died in a scuba diving accident in Stockholm on 14 June 2008. He is survived by his wife and two sons. The publication All About Jazz remarked that the loss “will surely deeply sadden music lovers everywhere.”

Since 2013 Magnus Öström and Dan Berglund are touring with the project e.s.t. symphony with Swedish arrangeur and conductor Hans Ek, performing symphonic versions of the e.s.t. songs.
In 1995 and 1996, Svensson was awarded Swedish Jazz Musician of the Year and 1998 Songwriter of the Year, and the 1997 release Winter in Venice (consisting mainly of original material) was awarded the Swedish Grammy. Strange Place For Snow, e.s.t.’s 2002 release earned numerous awards including the Jahrespreis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik (from the German Phonoacademy), the German Jazz Award, Choc de l’année (Jazzman, France), the Victoire du Jazz – the French Grammy – as best international act and also the Revelation of the Festival award, a special award from Midem. In December 2004, e.s.t. was awarded the Hans Koller prize as European Artist of the Year.

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Tuesday Wonderland is the eleventh album by the Swedish jazz trio Esbjörn Svensson Trio in its fourteenth year. On the occasion of its release, the American jazz magazine Downbeat, the best-selling periodical in the genre, featured E.S.T. on its cover as the first European jazz formation in the magazine’s 72-year history. In turn, the album was received very positively to cautiously by critics.

Stuart Nicholson notes in the Guardian that, as with the previous album, there is no sign of musical stagnation in the Swedish jazz group, although that would be significant given the length of time they have been playing together. This album is influenced by classical music such as The Well-Tempered Clavier, which enriches E.S.T.’s signature blend of jazz, rock and pop. John Kelman feels that Tuesday Wonderland expresses the tendency for the formation – although Svensson’s piano playing is the main part of the sound – to act even more democratically and more parts of Berglund and Magnus Öström can be heard.

In 2007, Tuesday Wonderland received, among other awards, a platinum record (Jazz Award) for over 20,000 units sold in Germany. The album is thus one of the best-selling jazz albums in Germany. (wikipedia)

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Sweden’s preeminent jazz fusion band the Esbjörn Svensson Trio, named after the charismatic and inventive pianist, has been a sensation in Europe since the early ’90s, capturing numerous Swedish Grammys (including one for Tuesday Wonderland long before its Stateside release), a French Grammy, and gold and platinum awards in their home country, Germany and France. But they deserve more than this — a medal, actually — for finding a unique blend of melodic jazz, classical, electronica and rock — that has earned them an audience of both older jazz lovers and trendy hip-hop kids. It speaks to the freshness of their vibe that their videos play regularly on MTV Scandinavia and they’re the only European jazz band ever to grace the cover of Downbeat. Though there are traditional elements at work, Tuesday Wonderland thrives on being unconventional.

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On the opening track “Fading Maid Pendulum,” just as it’s hypnotizing with a gentle, classically tinged piano melody, Dan Berglund jumps in with a brooding, distorted heavy metal bass craziness and drummer Magnus Ostrom goes cymbal crazy. It’s electro-ambient jazz gone mad. The title track features Svensson’s David Benoit-like, melodic dark-meets-light piano dichotomy over Ostrom’s sharp, off-meter drums before some spacy electronica takes over for a spell. “Brewery of Beggars” is another inspired dose of insanity, darting from busy cymbal-piano swirls to softer, contemplative piano-bass moments. “Beggar’s Blanket” puts those pesky beggars to sleep with a sweet, lullaby-like, straightforward trio ballad. The Pat Metheny-esque “Dolores in a Shoestand” explores the melodic and rhythmic potential of jazz, a vibe which extends to other enjoyably seductive pieces like “eighthundred Streets by Feet.” “Goldwrap,” on the other hand, is a marriage between trippy jazz and explosive trance music — no wonder the kids love this stuff! Listening to this disc is a gloriously schizophrenic experience that will appeal more to adventurous listeners than those who prefer one style to another. But it was a great introduction to what makes Europe tick in the early 2000s jazz-wise. (by Jonathan Widran)

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Personnel:
Dan Berglund (bass)
Magnus Öström (drums)
Esbjörn Svensson (piano)

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Tracklist:
01. Fading Maid Prelude 4.10
02. Tuesday Wonderland 6.32
03. The Goldhearted Miner 4.51
04. Brewery Of Beggars 8.22
05. Beggar’s Blanket 2.56
06. Dolores In A Shoestand 8.53
07. Where We Used To Live 4.27
08. Eighthundred Streets By Feet 6.48
09.Goldwrap 4.02
10. Sipping On The Solid Ground 4.37
11. Fading Maid Postlude 12.28

Music composed by Dan Berglund – Magnus Öström – Esbjörn Svensson

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More from the Esbjörn Svensson Trio:
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The official website:
Website

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