Esbjorn Svensson Trio

DAVID WAKEFIELD Although this Swedish trio bears the name of its pianist, it is recognised by the acronym EST. And thereby lies a clue to its raison d'etre – that this is essentially a blend of three musicians rather than a pianist backed by bass and drums.

DAVID WAKEFIELD

Although this Swedish trio bears the name of its pianist, it is recognised by the acronym EST.

And thereby lies a clue to its raison d'etre – that this is essentially a blend of three musicians rather than a pianist backed by bass and drums.

Although Svensson is a player of considerable technique and thoughtfulness, it is this melding of three components that is more important and this performance grew in stature, and enjoyment, as the evening wore on. The blend of light and shade, sadness and joy was beautifully managed, helped by an impeccable sound and lighting performance. Newcomers to EST's music might well raise a quizzical eyebrow at some of the titles; but in this instance it is no show of navel-gazing introvertedness. More that these reflect the band's sense of fun – eg When God Created The Coffee Break and Behind The Yashmak – and what emerges does not tax the brain or one's sense of musical credibility. There was a lot of soul here, beautiful balladry and what, on occasions, bordered on rock, with both piano and bass playing via electronic distortion. Bassist Dan Berglund and drummer Magnus Ostrom – whose gentle work put me in mind of the great French percussionist Christian Garros – contributed lengthy solos. This was fine Euro-jazz which can genuinely take its place on a world platform.

t The Esbjorn SvenssonTrio performed at the Norwich Playhouse.

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