Album: e.s.t. Leucocyte (ACT)

Sweden's premier jazz trio say goodbye in style
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The Independent Culture

When their pianist Esbjorn Svensson died in a diving accident in June this year, the popular Swedish jazz trio e.s.t. (Esbjorn Svensson Trio, right?) had perhaps already reached their peak.

A recent double CD, 'Live in Hamburg', superbly summarised the group's 12-year progress so far, in contrast to the two previous studio albums, which failed to improve on the excellent 'Seven Days of Falling' from 2003. But this last studio set, completed prior to Svensson's death and released tomorrow in accordance with the wishes of the two remaining members, bassist Dan Berglund and drummer Magnus Ostrom, proves that the group still had plenty left to say, and were beginning to find a new, more experimental way to say it. The material, worked up from jam sessions, is both jazzier and rockier than before, and more consciously electro-acoustic in approach, with the opening tracks – contrapuntal piano solo leading into dark and funky groove – as good as anything they've done. The Leucocyte suite (the word refers to white blood cells that fight infection) which follows – and which appears to include one minute of silence – is less perfectly realised, but it's clear that e.s.t. were far from finished.

Pick of the Album: 'Premonition': crepuscular, bass-heavy groove

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