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To his credit, Esbjörn Svensson managed to make jazz music that was as accessible as it was challenging, and he neither sold his soul to “smooth jazz” nor fossilised himself under the weight of jazz fusion. Third, does it give anybody listening to the band for the first time a “way in” to listening to them? No, what 301 really offers us is an enrichment and a refinement of the group’s existing sound so, in a rather nerdy way, we can compare it with the rest of the e.s.t. Take, for instance, what 301 tells us about the evolution of e.s.t.’s embrace of electronica – and, by extension, what the gizmos of the 21st century bring to the atmosphere of piano jazz.And he pissed off a lot of jazz purists in the process. 301 is a selection from the reels of material the band recorded during the sessions for their 2008 album Leucocyte. And this prompts us to ask three questions about 301. 301’s “Inner City, City Light” is a perfect example of a typical e.s.t. In fact, it’s a kind of serious, studious older sister song to “Serenade for the Renegade” (from 2002’s Strange Place for Snow).Svensson was no than many more technically equipped pianists.When in full improvisational flow, as on the baroque-influenced "When God Created the Coffee Break," there were few more exciting jazz pianists either.Since Svensson's accidental death in 2008 ACT Music has released sessions but did not make the final cut.
It’s used to describe charmingly geeky computer guys and it’s used to describe the pioneers of classical mechanics.Frequently, Svensson and Berglund are inseparable on the heads, which are often greeted by the Barbican crowd with cheers of recognition more in keeping with a rock gig."Mingle in the Mincing Machine," "The Unstable Table and the Infamous Fable" and "Behind The Yashmak," weighing in at fourteen, twelve and seventeen minutes respectively, underline e.s.t.'s propensity to stretch out.The grooving "Spunky Sprawl" rounds out the set on a high note, with extended solos from all, the highlight being Svensson's freewheeling, bluesy charge.Following the crowd ovation, a minute or so of post-concert buzz is captured.