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E.S.T

Discussion in 'Music [DB]' started by Marc Decho, Aug 3, 2005.


  1. a friend of mine turned me on to these cats yesterday, here's the website..... http://www.est-music.com/ I definately dig the stuff i've heard so far....trio of piano, contrabass, drums....they stretch out the concept of "jazz trio" and do it in a classy way..

    here's a small blurb:

    e.s.t. is a phenomenon: A jazztrio, which sees itself as a popband that plays jazz, which broke with the tradition of leader and sidemen in favour of equality within its members, which not only plays jazz-venues but also venues usually reserved for rockbands, which uses light effects and fog-machines in their live shows, which gets a whole audience to sing-a-long with jazz-standards as eg. Thelonius Monk's "Bemsha Swing", is a trio that goes beyond the scope of the usual classic jazztrio. Their music can be found in the pop-charts and their videos are playing on MTV Scandinavia. With their unique soundscape, combining jazz with drum 'n' bass, electronic elements, funk rhythm, and pop and rock as well as European Classical music, e.s.t. won an audience spanning from the classic jazz-fans to the youngest HipHop fans. Critics and audiences world-wide agree: e.s.t. is definately one of the most innovative jazzbands of today.
     
  2. oliebrice

    oliebrice

    Apr 7, 2003
    London, UK
    They've been getting loads of attention in Europe, but I don't much like them personally. They're obviosuly really good, but I find their electronic stuff a bit gimmicky and their tunes and playing a bit safe and polished...
    But they, along with the Tord Gustavson trio and Acoustic Ladyland, both of whom I don't much like either, are turning a lot of people on to modern jazz - probably the 2 biggest "newcomers" in European jazz at the moment. I suppose they're our version of the Bad Plus
     

  3. hmmmmmmmmm didn't hear any of the electro stuff as of yet, all I pretty much heard were 3 very mellow Bill Evansesque type things...i'll have to check the other stuff out before I consider buying any of their stuff
     
  4. bassbloke

    bassbloke

    Feb 26, 2002
    UK
    Superb band, several great albums and wonderful live. Esbjorn has a fantastic melodic gift both as a composer and improviser and the band have a telepathic understanding. I don't find the use of electronics gimmicky at all, they are fans of experimental rock music like like Kid A period Radiohead and manage to integrate electronics subtly and organically. I'd agree they inhabit a somewhat "safer" soundscape than a lot of modern jazzers (ie not a lot of skronk) but I don't think there's anything wrong with that if that's where your muse takes you: there's nothing fake or facile about these guys.

    Comparisons with The Bad Plus are inevitable. TBP are more a meeting of equals whereas Esbjorn is obviously the dominant guy in EST (Reid Anderson is the most interesting composer and musician in TBP for me, that he's the bassplayer is a big plus). Live I prefer TBP - they have more energy and aggression - but EST's better studio records stand up to repeat listening better than TBPs and they have a larger body of work. I'm not so sure about the Acoustic Ladyland comparison - Acoustic Ladyland are like an Avant Garde rock band with jazz chops and some jazz instrumentation and are also generally better live than on record. I prefer their sister band, Polar Bear, featuring the same musicians but with fabulous drummer Seb Rochford as leader instead of Peter Wareham (no disrespect to Peter who is a great player and composer). More avant-jazz than avant rock and more interesting to my ears. Still with plenty of skronk though.
     
  5. "our version of the bad plus" - apart from an album of Monk - I've seen them play Monk live and they should do it more - I don't hear the influence in their original compositions. That two bands on different sides fo the Atlantic should decide to use some rock influences (in TBPs case do cover versions - EST is more in the sound than the material IMHO) I don't think this exactly surprising.

    However, Accoustic Ladyland are not my cup of tea even though I used to listen to Black Sabbath, Deep Purple et al.

    As for Tord, his trio is a different kettle of fish altogether. I find adventure and experimentation with form and sound in both these bands playing. I've nothing against a little polish either.

    What's safe though? I'd argue that none of these bands were safe because none of them are doing things that sound the same as any other band (despite comparisons to TBP) and what they are doing is evolving - not recycling the same material in the same way with simmilar solos. Is it a sound that shocks? - well no but neither does Cecil Taylor and TAE of Chicago any more.

    The EST bass-player challenge has got to be the track "And God Created the coffee morning" which begins with a rapid baroque-come-be-bop line played by Svenson's left hand and doubled in Berglunds bass. Marvelous stuff with an insouciant switch to relaxed swing in the middle. So accurate you'd think it couldn't be done live - until you hear it.

    Its also interesting hearing how the cd tracks evolve and extend in live performance - which as bassbloke says - is fantastic. This band are superb live and on each occassion I've seen them have never failed to deliver right from the first note - no warm up numbers, dodgy sound, tired phrasing or whatever. I know it's the music that matters but things like this never cease to impress me and put me in a good frame of mind for the rest of the evening.

    When they first toured before becoming huge they brought with them their own sound-man. They still do - although now they can no doubt easily afford it. In a series of concerts that included EST, Brad Meldau's trio and others in the same hall EST's sound was easily the best. Larry Grenadier, who has a gorgeous tone didn't and that evening was a big dispaointment.
     
  6. oliebrice

    oliebrice

    Apr 7, 2003
    London, UK
    The only comparison I meant between EST, TBP and Acoustic Ladyland was that they have all become suprisingly popular recently, and got a lot of critical aclaim, for playing stuff that mixes modern jazz with "pop" (in the broadest sense of the word) influences, and that they get more attention because of that than their jazz playing might deserve. being young, white and 'good looking' probably doesn't hurt either. EST's latest albums, for example, have recieved far more press attention etc than for example the recent Joe Lovano/Hank Jones albums, which I think are far greater music.
    But The Bad Plus I'm not even sure I've ever heard, only compared them because they seem to get similar levels of acclaim for a similar fusion of styles.
    And I agree, Acoustic Ladyland are a rock band, but they get a lot of jazz press coverage.
     
  7. yup Olie - I think that's fair.
     
  8. bassbloke

    bassbloke

    Feb 26, 2002
    UK
    Hmm. They are getting more press coverage because they are coming up with something that potentially draws a bigger audience. And is more genuinely new: I love Joe Lovano, "Rush Hour" is one of my favourite albums in any genre, but he tends to work very much within the tradition of the modern jazz sax virtuoso. I saw Joe play with Tommy Smith's band last year and I suspect that, blindfolded, most people wouldn't have found it easy to tell whether it was Tommy or Joe playing on many of the solos. Differentiating Esbjorn, even from a big influence on his playing like, say, Keith Jarret, would be much easier. He stands out from his peers more.

    As for Joe's music being "much greater", well that is a subjective judgement. You say tomaytoe and I say tomaatoe. To bring a bit of arbitration or quasi-objectivity into it, you'll find find plenty of 4 star reviews for EST and The Bad Plus in the Penguin Jazz Guide. Brian Cook and Richard Morton are nobody's fools and I think that says plenty about these bands' jazz credentials.
     
  9. Yeah - The Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD is rated very highly and I value it highly too. Well worth its £20.
     
  10. oliebrice

    oliebrice

    Apr 7, 2003
    London, UK
    I know its a pretty old fashioned point of view, but I actually think that some musicians are greater than others, and its not just a matter of taste.
    I reckon looking back at who was great in early 21st century jazz, it'll be Joe Lovanos bands, Paul Motian Trio, Brad Meldhau trio, Wayne Shorter 4tet rather than EST.Which is not to say that history always recognises geniuses....
    But then I also think that Joe Lovano has one of the most beautiful and distinctive sounds in modern jazz, so we mgiht have to agree to disagree
     
  11. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member


    I must say I agree with this - I'm not that keen on EST and I do believe that Joe Lovano is one the modern "greats".

    I was a big fan of Acoustic Ladyland when they were purely "acoustic" and I still really like their first album - but I'm not so sure about their latest album - although it was very exciting to see the material performed live in a small club, with people expecting acoustic Jazz!! ;)

    I think they are very talented musicians who are trying to "shake up" the audience expectations of what Jazz is - they don't like it being a safe, easy listening genre - and I'm with them on that!! :)

    But I'm more looking forward to Mark Lockheart's Septet - "Big Idea" 4 saxes - Jason Yarde,Julian Siegel,Steve Buckley - plus John Parricelli on Guitar, Dudley Phillips bass and Martin France on drums - this looks like it will be more my idea of what "modern Jazz" should be about..? :)
     
  12. Dan Bergland is still a great bass player - whatever you make of the band - I still like them and having seen them live about 5 times I'd recommend you check them out - as they are brilliant live.

    I just got the new Brad Mehladau CD on a promo and it's very good - Larry Grenadier is so good as is Jorge Ross on drums - they are on fire on this disc - the opening Radiohead cover 'Knives Out' is just pulsating - and Larry really lays it down while still pushing the whole thing along - very good CD that - it's out in September.

    M
     
  13. bassbloke

    bassbloke

    Feb 26, 2002
    UK
    You make a statement but don't back it up, except by listing your own subjective taste (in effect undermining your own argument). Music is just a means of arousing emotion by creating sound. There is no objective basis for asserting that your response to a piece of music is more valid than mine. An appeal the presumed judgement of future generations is a particularly pointless piece of rhetoric, first because you have no idea what their judgement will be and second because even if there were such a thing as "greatness" there is no objective basis for claiming that future generations' judgement will be any more valid than our own.
     
  14. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    If the past is any guide to the fugure most people won't look back at today's music in any meaningful way. When's the last time you popped that Frankie Trumbauer CD in your player, Olie?
     
  15. oliebrice

    oliebrice

    Apr 7, 2003
    London, UK
    I admit its a bit tenous to use historical recognition to mark greatness, though I did accept that in my earlier post. But my point about greatness wasn't that my taste is more valid than other peoples. I do think that, regardless of individual taste, some musicians have a more extensive grounding in jazz tradition, a more innovative harmonic approach, a more individual tone, a more exciting rhythmic understanding, etc etc etc, that in my opinion make them stand out as great. I can't prove, and don't aspire to, that Joe Lovano is greater than Esbjorn Svensson, but I still think its true! A fairly pointless argument though...
     
  16. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member