All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Live Reviews

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

3

Magnus Ostrom Band at Ronnie Scott's

By

Sign in to view read count
Magnus Ostrom
Ronnie Scott's
London
September 16, 2013

"What guarantee do we have that the future will come? That we will be able to experience it? We generally live in our Western society separated from death. We don't think about it. Talk seldom about it. Suppress it preferably. But suddenly, it hits us. Close or at a distance. But almost always with astonishing power. Everything stays put. And we suddenly experience our fragility, our loneliness, our total powerlessness in front of death. It pushes us to a corner. Force us to resignate to it. Death has all the power. And we float in a complete uncertainty about the future. We know nothing. We have no guarantees. Life can finish anytime."

Esbjorn Svensson (2003)

It's devastating when anyone dies young, not least jazz musicians. And sadly, there's an extensive list of jazz greats who departed well before their time. "A Monet of rhythm," as one friend once described Jaco Pastorius, aged 35, beaten to death by nightclub manager Luc Havan after an altercation outside the Midnight Bottle Club in Lauderdale, Florida, on September 21st, 1987; John Coltrane, aged 40, dead from liver cancer at Huntington Hospital on Long Island, July 17th, 1967; due to his bad shape from heroin and alcohol abuse, Charlie Parker, dead of pneumonia at the age of 34 in 1955, incorrectly tagged as being in his 50s by the coroner; and bassist Paul Chambers dead in 1969 at the age of 33 due to complications surrounding his alcoholism, heroin addiction and tuberculosis.

On June 14, 2008, yet another bright star was added to this solemn register: Swedish pianist composer Esbjorn Svensson, aged 44, whose sudden, untimely death in a diving accident rocked the jazz community. His passing was perhaps most strongly felt, outside the immediate family, by his two e.s.t. bandmates, drummer Magnus Ostrom and bassist Dan Berglund, who, going forward, had to deal with the dilemma of not having played outside e.s.t in 15 years. Nevertheless, both have since bounced back with notable new projects (Magnus Ostrom and Tonbruket) and released albums that have acted, for all intents and purposes, as personal coping mechanisms: broodingly soul-searching sets of progressive, post-rock-sounding electric jazz.

Ostrom's first record, Thread Of Life (Act, 2011), despite the drummer looking every inch a rock bruiser on the front cover, strayed into mild, coffee-table territory. Much of it sounded like Pat Metheny fronting glacial post-rock titans Sigur Ros, but in reality the result—ponderous, slow-moving—was nowhere near as exciting as that sounds. The follow up Searching For Jupiter (Act, 2013), (a majority of which was performed this night) however, was a sharper, freer and more spirited affair, demonstrated by the fact that Ostrom had not only developed a strong rapport with his young, talented band mates, but had made a marked improvement on his compositional skills.

Five minutes before show time, Ostrom was found cleaning his teeth in the club toilets, and fittingly his outfit's performance was highly polished, verging on hygienic. Opening with Searching For Jupiter's lead-out track, "The Moon (And The Air It Moves)," it was immediately apparent the band had, sadly, softened their rock edges to suit a sit-down jazz audience. While on the album the track encompasses hypnotic post-rock crosswinds within its moody pulse, live it felt dampened down and MOR.

There was more than a touch of Jazz Police's surging melodicism to "Dancing At The Dutchtreat," whose pirouetting guitars and stomping piano motifs were underpinned by Ostrom's Stewart Copeland-like accents. Actually, the Swedish drummer referenced Copeland's off-the-cuff style throughout, whether on the rapid-fire hi hat work on "Searching For Jupiter," or the clever blending of beats and fills on the Metheny-esque set closer, "At The End Of Eternity." The aforementioned title-track of Ostrom's latest album, reminiscent of e.s.t's live favorite, "When God Created The Coffee Break," marked the first point in the set where the band took flight, and Andreas Hourdakis' almost pedal-steel chords heightened Daniel Karlsson's thundering left-hand motif.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Tallinn Music Week 2018 Live Reviews
Tallinn Music Week 2018
by Henning Bolte
Published: April 19, 2018
Read James Blood Ulmer and the Thing at Bochum Art Museum Live Reviews
James Blood Ulmer and the Thing at Bochum Art Museum
by Phillip Woolever
Published: April 17, 2018
Read Jocelyn Medina at Jazz at Kitano Live Reviews
Jocelyn Medina at Jazz at Kitano
by Tyran Grillo
Published: April 16, 2018
Read Marbin at The Firmament Live Reviews
Marbin at The Firmament
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 15, 2018
Read Big Ears Festival 2018 Live Reviews
Big Ears Festival 2018
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 13, 2018
Read Meg Morley Trio at 606 Club Live Reviews
Meg Morley Trio at 606 Club
by Gareth Thomas
Published: April 13, 2018
Read "ELBJAZZ 2017" Live Reviews ELBJAZZ 2017
by Ian Patterson
Published: June 15, 2017
Read "Arturo Sandoval at the Blue Note" Live Reviews Arturo Sandoval at the Blue Note
by Nicholas F. Mondello
Published: October 30, 2017
Read "The Specials at Higher Ground" Live Reviews The Specials at Higher Ground
by Doug Collette
Published: July 2, 2017
Read "Kneebody at Johnny Brenda's" Live Reviews Kneebody at Johnny Brenda's
by Mike Jacobs
Published: April 25, 2017