Esbjörn Svensson has died
I just got the terrible news that the Swedish jazz pianist Esbjörn Svensson of EST (the Esbjörn Svensson Trio) has died in a diving accident, only 44 years old.
I interviewed Svensson at least once. He struck me as a wonderfully friendly, articulate guy with a lot of humility about his work.
I'm not sure I always liked the direction they were taking the trio in the last couple of years (flirting with varying degrees of success with electonics, moving in a more pop/rock/easy listning direction – even though I'm not really much of a jazz purist, I never thought it worked when they got too "easy"). But I won't soon forget the concert they gave at USF in Bergen in 2002. I was having a bad month of epic, biblical proportions. (The kind of month where the bills pile up, you do badly on exams, a flock of locusts threaten your crops, barbarians pillage your tribe and hear the lamentation of your women, fire and brimstone fall from the sky, etc.) I came late, and walked in in the middle of "And God Created the Coffee Break":
And I felt my foot tapping, and then they segued into an extraordinary version of "Behind the Yashmak":
And after that it just got better and better. And seriously, I think that concert was the only time I felt really happy for like three months.