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...

525

Esbjorn Svensson Trio (e.s.t.): Tuesday Wonderland

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
For its first release to be distributed by a major label since Strange Place for Snow (Columbia, 2002), the Esöjorn Svensson Trio (e.s.t.) continues to mine and expand the road traveled on Seven Days of Falling (215 Records, 2004) and Viaticum (215 Records, 2005). Tuesday Wonderland doesn't exactly break new ground for e.s.t., but equally it's a gradual evolution of the pop sensibility-meets-jazz improvisation aesthetic that's been a fundamental since the trio first emerged in 1993.

As the group has evolved, the use of electronics has become more prevalent, a potential double-edged sword. Bassist Dan Berglund's sometimes processed acoustic bass, fed through distortion boxes and wah wah pedals, gives his aggressive arco playing on the title track a sharp, metallic edge that's a clear reference to his fondness for heavy metal bands. Berglund has, in fact, become an equal frontline voice alongside pianist Svensson, who continues to demonstrate a fine balance between lyrical economy and greater virtuosity.

Drummer Magnus Öström may not get any real solo space—this is a piano trio, after all, that largely eschews the conventional theme-solo-theme format—but he powers the band both subtly ("The Goldhearted Miner") and with a more hard-edged, propulsive approach (the dynamic juxtaposition of "Brewery of Beggars").

For a group that's been together for nearly fifteen years and has become one of Europe's most popular jazz acts, this Swedish trio has managed, for the most part, to avoid both becoming stale and devolving into any kind of self-parodying shtick. There are unequivocal markers that define e.s.t.: Berglund's processed bass, Svensson's generally subtle use of electronics (though they've never been more prevalent than on this record), and spare ballads balanced with complex contrapuntal material where Berglund demonstrates greater technical facility. But what keeps the group fresh is the fact that once one pares away the specific musical definers, e.s.t. is still an improvising band capable of generating surprising excitement on the simplest of vamps ("Dolores in a Shoestand").

While it's always been a democratic trio, the fact that its name comes from the pianist might suggest some undue emphasis on Svensson's prodigious talents. For those who have been following the group since When Everyone Has Gone (Dragon, 1993), what's been most satisfying about e.s.t.'s journey is an increasingly equitable balance where it truly is a trio of equals. Svensson may get the lion's share of solo space, but Tuesday Wonderland is a record that would be entirely different were it not for the equally significant contributions of Berglund and Öström. It's best effort since Strange Place for Snow, the wider North American distribution of Tuesday Wonderland should help push e.s.t. towards the greater success it's achieved in Europe.


Track Listing: Fading Maid Preludium; Tuesday Wonderland; The Goldhearted Miner; Brewery of Beggars; Beggar's Blanket; Dolores in a Shoestand; Where We Used to Live; Eighthundred Steets By Feet; Goldwrap; Slipping on the Solid Ground; Fading Maid Postludum.

Personnel: Esbjörn Svensson: piano; Dan Berglund: bass; Magnus Öström: drums, Zildjan cymbals.

Title: Tuesday Wonderland | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: ACT Music

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Album Reviews
Catching Up With
Album Reviews
Interviews
Profiles
Album Reviews
Interviews
Live Reviews
Album Reviews
Read more articles

Shop

Start your shopping here and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Barriers Album Reviews
Barriers
By Karl Ackermann
February 16, 2019
Read Fractal Guitar Album Reviews
Fractal Guitar
By John Kelman
February 16, 2019
Read The Early Bird Gets Album Reviews
The Early Bird Gets
By Mark Corroto
February 16, 2019
Read The Newest Sound You Never Heard Album Reviews
The Newest Sound You Never Heard
By Jerome Wilson
February 16, 2019
Read Think Big: Like Me Album Reviews
Think Big: Like Me
By Paul Naser
February 16, 2019
Read Melodic Ornette Coleman: Piano Works XIII Album Reviews
Melodic Ornette Coleman: Piano Works XIII
By Karl Ackermann
February 15, 2019
Read Free Fall Album Reviews
Free Fall
By Peter Hoetjes
February 15, 2019