The Esbjörn Svensson Trio, or e.s.t. as it prefers to be known these days, brings luminosity to the art of the piano trio on this, its eighth recording. Credit these three players with a strong sense of musicality and the ability to go past the obvious and build layer upon layer of enticing sonority. The arrangements are clever, letting them spin ideas and move them into unexpected terrain. The continuous changing and shaping of structure lends a sharp edge that makes this one heck of a delightful album. And how marvellous it is to see that the mainstream still swells with the likes of musicians such as these!
Svensson uses space effectively. He does not see the need to hurry and scamper, his deliberate air making the music tell a more effective story. "Ballad for the Unborn" testifies to that as he weaves the fabric strand upon strand, the deeper hues chorded by his left hand his right giving life to melodic braids. The spell is sure and binding. There is a harder impetus when they "Mingle in the Mincing-Machine," where a scampering bass from Dan Berglund changes course as he bows into a lower register while punctuating with plucked notes. The pattern churns a heady spin and gets into a happy groove, and in its ambience shows the fluency with which the three navigate dynamics.
The "Elevation of Love" finds Svensson pirouetting while Magnus 'str'm strikes up the beat, kneading the rhythm, pushing the pulse and lighting a charge as the momentum surges. Another extension of their approach comes on what must be one of the happiest tunes ever, the delightful "In My Garage." Get out and dance or just tap your feetthis one is fun. These guys certainly don't disappoint!
Personnel: Esbjörn Svensson: piano; Dan Berglund: bass; Magnus Öström: drums.