In those ten years there have been constant reminders of the indelible mark which Esbjörn Svensson’s piano playing has left on countless other players. Indeed it is hard to imagine currently successful bands such as GoGo Penguin or Mammal Hands, or many others all over the world, without the deep and lasting influence of the sound and the aesthetic of e.s.t.
The trio really was a phenomenon. Its scale, recognition and impact grew progressively and internationally during the seventeen years of its existence. British audiences, for example, took e.s.t to their hearts, and in a special way. Things began quietly when they first performed one night in the tiny Pizza Express Jazz Club in Dean Street in the late 1990’s, and their footprint in the UK just kept growing steadily from there, until they were packing out concert halls. It is part of a similar story in many European countries. They were not kust met with massive success in Germany and France, they truly went Europe-wide. And they also reached out further: they were the first European band ever to appear on the cover of Downbeat in May 2006, the magazine’s seventy-third year. In 2006, for example, they played over 100 concerts in 24 countries and were heard by 200,000 people.
That unforgettable experience of e.s.t. playing live has been caught before on CD, notably in "Live in Hamburg", which was named the “Jazz album of the decade 2000–2010” by The Times, whose critic wrote: “In a decade when Scandinavia staked a claim as the home of progressive jazz, no one had more success than this piano trio.” Jamie Cullum described the appeal of their live concerts: „e.s.t. are a jazz trio, only I can take my non-jazz friends along to see them. Not because they are easy to listen to or un-experimental, but because their improvisational approach is stuffed full of contemporary, relevant and hip ideas. I truly, truly love this band.”
This new release was recorded at one of two nights in a completely sold-out Barbican Centre in 2005, during a hugely successful and highly popular ten-date UK tour. The organic and natural way in which the set evolves is remarkable, and there is plentiful evidence of what Canadian critic John Kelman has called their “unique simpatico.” For people who know and remember the band well, the absolute gem here is a serene, deliciously poised account of “Believe, Beleft, Below.”
The release of this album marks a poignant moment: the tenth anniversary of the tragic and premature death of Esbjorn Svensson on 14 June 2008.
Available as double cd and double LP (2 LP, 180g, orange transparent vinyl- incl mp3 download code).