Magnus Öström & Dan Berglund – e.s.t. 30

Review Magnus Öström & Dan Berglund – e.s.t. 30

The news hit me hard: a musician I like very much, from a country I like very much, dives in a place I like very much and drowns. The news of Esbjörn Svenson's sudden death seemed unreal to me at the time and is still hard to digest. His music, his sensitivity, his ingenuity were special and the atmosphere he created together with his childhood friends Magnus Öström and Dan Berglund in the Esbjörn Svenson Trio, the e.s.t., was pure emotion.

Now the e.s.t. is back, at least in a way. 2023 marks the 30th anniversary of the trio's founding, and Öström and Berglund have taken this as an opportunity to re-record well-known e.s.t. pieces with musician friends. With a different mood and completely different to what they had previously heard. But what they also managed to do was to preserve the texture, so that you meet old friends who somehow move you in a different way.

e.s.t. 30 is an album that is meant to remember by evoking memories. At the same time, it seems as if it wants to help articulate grief and express it musically. A gentle melancholy runs through the pieces, a melancholy basic sound that brings musicians and listeners closer together and allows them to share.

Verneri Pohjola's fine trumpet contributes just as much as Magnus Lindgren's sometimes gentle, sometimes juicy tenor saxophone. The electric guitar of Ulf Walkenius scatters points of light, and Joel Lyssarides masters the most difficult part with aplomb - playing the piano with fine fingers and a joyful sound.

The rhythm section, the long-serving one, is particularly striking: Dan Berglund lays the bass foundation that carries everything and Magnus Öström contributes an extremely sensitive heartbeat with the drums. Every track is a surprise, in which the notes evoke memories and at the same time comfortingly point to the future.

Acoustically, e.s.t. 30 is of course beyond reproach. The sound is close and warm, the occasional applause of the live recording makes the music radiate even more intimately from the stage, which would fit well in a jazz club, the recording sounds so tangible.

"What remains is love," writes the label about the recording. And that's true, but it's only part of the truth. What remains is the memory, as well as the confidence. And the wish that it never ends.

So let's enjoy the endless loop a little longer. (Thomas Semmler, HighResMac)

Magnus Öström, drums
Dan Berglund, double bass
Magnus Lindgren, tenor saxophone, flute
Joel Lyssarides, piano
Verneri Pohjola, trumpet
Ulf Wakenius, electric guitar

Magnus Öström & Dan Berglund – e.s.t. 30

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