ESBJÖRN SVENSSON TRIO (E.S.T.) — From Gagarin's Point of View (review)

ESBJÖRN SVENSSON TRIO (E.S.T.) — From Gagarin's Point of View album cover Album · 1999 · Nu Jazz Buy this album from MMA partners
3/5 ·
snobb
E.S.T. was the most popular (and commercially most successful) European jazz collective in the late 90s to early 00', and different from many of the more talented jazz artists/bands before and after them, they have maintained a strong following during all these years (and still have in part till now, even after they were disbanded because of pianist Esbjorg Svensson's death). The reason for such phenomena is based not only on their music, but also in their stylish image as well. They started as a long-hair jazz-playing pop-rock trio and brought a lot of stadium rock aesthetics to the scene. One of the classic attributes of any rock star is fanboyism for sure - and they have it in full.

If you have heard a lot about their star status and are new to their music,(depending on your musical background) you will possibly be surprised when you listen to one of their albums. All of their works from the 90s are more or less successful clones of Keith Jarrett's contemporary jazz albums (don't expect even small traces of his experimental music of the early 70s though). The central figure of E.S.T., Esbjorn Svensson, was a skilled pianist for sure, but the lack of originality on their early albums is more than obvious. "From Gagarin's Point Of View" is their first album where they started to combine Jarrett-like cool piano (to tell the truth in Svensson's version, it always sounded slightly melancholic which is one of the main reasons why the more romantic part of Jarrett's fan base accepted him as their new idol) with some elements of rock culture (straight forward rock rhythmic structures, some high energy moments, rock-song composition structures). Possibly you will need to have an open ear to hear these "experiments", but at least for the first time on an E.S.T. album they are presented at all. It didn't make this album the greatest listening experience, but at least it isn't well polished, melancholic, well played, over produced and totally toothless listening as in their previous works. The best word here is "promises"...

By far not the trio's best album, and still not their real "nu jazz" sound, so maybe its better to start with their later releases.

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