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Esbjorn Svensson takes off

Yes indeed, one of the most exciting musicians in the world has taken leave of us, suddenly, accidentally and way too soon. He may have been Swedish, he may have worked in the leftfield genre of European jazz piano, but he still managed to touch – no, not touch, he reached in, grabbed and shook up – the hearts of anyone who was lucky enough to see his live shows. The first time I saw him play with his trio was in the Triskel Arts Centre in Cork, to a tiny audience of the usual serious music heads nodding away, and he managed to make all of them smile, some of them tap their toes and a small few whoop uncontrollably. By the time he came back to the Cork Jazz Festival in the Everyman Palace, the audience was everything from tuned in classic fans to jazzheads to grungy youngsters in trousers twice their waist size, and the place was wired with the energy the band fired off the stage. That was Svensson’s gift – he played potentially obscure music with such ferocious passion that it burned into anyone in earshot. Or maybe he played a weird Scandinavian take on punk disguised as jazz. Who cares?

Now, this is a food blog, and I can’t say that Esbjorn inspired any particular dish or made me want to eat or cook. But the spirit of his music and the fiercely controlled passion of his playing were inspirational to the extent that you want to run out of the hall and somehow ‘become’ your potential. If that sounds daft, this is worse – his music has often been the closest thing to the sounds inside my head when I feel most comfortable with my self and my work. Listening to him, I can cook, love, drive and play hurling like I’m a minor god. In my world, that’s as good as music gets, and it always felt like he knew what he had and what he could do to you. By all accounts, he was a fine fellow too, and why wouldn’t you believe that?

If I knew how to make links of all the useful words in this blog, you would have noticed them by now. I did know, but I’ve forgotten. But go out and buy some Esbjorn Svensson Trio albums, aka EST. Start with ‘Seven ways of falling’ which has the only vocal track he ever did under his own name, hidden away at the end, words and vocal by one Josh Haden.

If we meet again
I´ll tell you how i feel
I´ll tell you from the start
I´ll tell you love is real

How everything we say
And everything we do
Has been preordained
To bring true love to you
Nothing else is pure
Nothing else is right
You will know for sure
Once you´ve seen the light

If we meet again
I´ll tell you how i feel
I´ll tell you love is real

Posted on: 18 June 2008

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#1 · leigh prior
Saturday, 21 June, 2008

its a sad day its a dark time look to the light and try 2 feel fine…peace x

#2 · Shaun Hutchinson
Wednesday, 09 July, 2008

Yes so sad RIP, thanks for the music recommendation. I loved his music also Pat Metheny and Keith Jarrett..did you hear great albums by Manu Katche Group on ECM?