Esbjörn Svensson Dies In Tragic Accident

The jazz world was stunned to learn of the death of pianist and composer Esbjörn Svensson at the age of just 44 who died suddenly as a result of a scuba diving accident in Sweden on Saturday. Born in Västeras in Sweden of music-loving parents he studied at the University in Stockholm and in 1993 founded EST with his childhood friend drummer Magnus Öström and bassist Dan Berglund. Their work together was to eventually make them global jazz stars, becoming the first European jazz group to appear on the cover of Downbeat magazine and winning numerous awards including a BBC jazz award and Jazzwise album of the year for their album Good Morning Susie Soho. Last year at Jazzwise’s 10th anniversary celebration at the Pizza Express Jazz Club, the band made a surprise appearance at the venue that saw them make their name in the early days here in the UK. The trio had just finished their impressive twelfth album Leucocyte due for an autumn release which was recorded in Sydney in Australia and included some of their more audacious and challenging material to date.

Last year their album Live in Hamburg was critically acclaimed, the latest in a long line of albums which saw the group stretch boundaries and reinvent the notion of the jazz trio. Esbjörn Svensson’s own piano style proved influential to new groups appearing on the scene, including the Neil Cowley Trio in the UK, and musicians such as Brad Mehldau have reacted in their own musical journeys to the new progressive style introduced by Esbjörn and the trio. EST had spearheaded the renaissance of the new wave of European jazz and who knows the innovations and directions that in the future could have added to their formidable body of work. Everyone at Jazzwise extends their condolences to Magnus and Dan and to Esbjörn’s family. European jazz will never be the same again.

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