2004




e.s.t.
(Sweden)

Juryexplanation:
"To be a jazz musician or not to be, is the question. Esbjörn Svensson has asked it and found that he doesnt care. Being a jazz musician doesnt mean that you have to prove it all the time. Being a jazzmusician is to ask all sorts of musical questions. The answers you come up with will one way or the other reflect the fact you are a jazz musician even if you go beyond.
As Esbjörn Svensson stated in a Down Beat article in June. " I can get bored if I hear jazz always in the same form of melody, solo and then melody again." The formula for his group E.S.T adresses that statement. " Were trying to find other forms and create music that is interesting to us. Individual expression has to be there, but when we solo, we improvise together so its more like a conversation between all three of us." That pretty much sums it all up for they use the same method also for composition. Perhaps this kind of group thinking is more of a rock than a jazz attitude. No matter what, the result is jazz of premium quality. Highly personal with a very strong sense of form, but form outside the conventional jazzbox. Esbjörn Svensson always had this sense for musical drama even before there was E.S.T. He used to play around with everyone. In particular he was sought after by all the emerging Swedish jazz singers. The challenge, drama and excitement he brought to their performances was breathtaking. At the same time he started to feel it was time to concentrate on his own music so he kissed them all goodbye, not only the singers, forming E.S.T with his boyhood friend, drummer Magnus Öström and bassist Dan Berglund. Their record debut a sensation in Sweden happened in 1993. Now 11 years and some 6 -7 albums later they are no longer solely a Swedish affair. The international breakthrough came around the turn of the century with the albums "From Gagarinss point of view" and "Goodbye Susie Soho" and E.S.T today is acclaimed to be one of the most innovative jazzbands of today not only in Europe. They have even startled some controversy and interest in the US and are well known as far away as Japan. Esbjörn Svensson is a worthy reciepient of this years European Jazz Prize. In fact his last five years have been exceptional. Musical proof is also to be found in the albums "Strange place for snow" and "Seven Days of falling". With E.S.T at the heart of Esbjörn Svenssons matter he is also expanding the scope as a producer and composer. He is for example once more behind Swedish singer Viktoria Tolstoy. This time for her record debut "Shining on you" for the German record company ACT. The album cover clearly gives him credit for music and arrangements but if you ever wondered who the pianoplayer on that record, Bror Falk, is, wonder no more. Just listen. "