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  • Strange Place for Snow
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Strange Place for Snow

26 customer reviews

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Audio CD, June 4, 2002
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Editorial Reviews

Toeing a surprisingly fine line between acoustic-jazz accessibility and electronic-music ingenuity, E.S.T. (Esbjörn Svensson Trio) is a forward-thinking Swedish trio that adds subtle, dark ambient texture (and then some) to the traditional piano-trio format. As with the group's first Columbia release, Somewhere Else Before, there is a nice mix of well-constructed tunes with catchy, often-lilting melodies. The band is at its best when playing slow, contemplative ballads ("Serenade for the Renegade" is a highlight) that have the same kind of romantic leanings as pianist Bill Evans, yet the three occasionally pick up momentum on tunes like "Behind the Yashmak," without ever abandoning the song's lyricism. The trio also does other things to keep it fresh: they bring in some simple folk music balladry, add some classical music complexity, and even touch on the creeping influence of electro rock à la Radiohead. Strange Place for Snow should add a lot of new American voices to the deafening roar that surrounds this band in Europe. --Tad Hendrickson

1. The Message
2. Serenade For The Renegade
3. Strange Place For Snow
4. Behind The Yashmak
5. Bound For The Beauty Of The South
6. Years Of Yearning
7. When God Created The Coffeebreak
8. Spunky Sprawl
9. Carcrash

Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 4, 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B0000658AU
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #377,966 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By ROGER L. FOREMAN on May 16, 2005
Format: Audio CD
E.S.T. has quickly moved themselves up into my top two or three most "listened to" piano-based trios (Keith Jarrett will hold that top spot for a long, long time). They play with energy that few others bring to the table without resorting to just plain being loud. I love The Bad Plus, but they rely on the loud part more; I've just discovered Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, and they bring a lot to the table, too. Medeski, Martin & Wood are much more electric and abstract than E.S.T. I love Keith Jarrett, solo and with his trio, but that's a different kind of energy going on. Tord Gustavsen is so ECM-cool, and Lynne Arriale is less cutting-edge than these guys. Fred Hersch bring a whole different sound into the mix--much more traditional.

These guys, E.S.T., sell me with their spectacular pacing, working and building up sometimes repeated themes to almost a manic crescendo at times. Track 4, "Behind the Yashmak," is the perfect example. Nice slow beginning, but, at about 2:15 or so, the pace picks up, and we are off on an 8-minute "race" that gradually picks up speed, energy, and intensity. The ending is just spectacular--great payoff for my patience through 10+ minutes of the song. The left hand on Track 7, "When God Created the Coffeebreak" is one of the more impressive pieces of playing that I can think of off the top of my head. Track 8, "Spunky Sprawl," brings a similar feel to the table. Track 9, "Carcrash," reminds me of Karl Shapiro's poem "Auto Wreck"--a horrible image masked in soft sounds and pleasant "language."

The other thing that impresses me about these guys is the importance and prominence of the "other" two instruments in the trio. The piano might be in the lead much of the time, but the bass takes over a couple of tracks, as do the drums.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By loce_the_wizard VINE VOICE on February 17, 2009
Format: Audio CD
The triangle is the simplest geometric figure, one with properties that make it useful, stable, strong, and versatile. R. Buckminster Fuller used triangles as the core building block in his geodesic domes because they evenly distribute stress and provide a high strength-to-weight ratio for further expansion.

I'm not versed in music theory or skilled in playing anything more than a CD (my piano instructor in college encouraged me to quit), but I know enough to appreciate a generous does of talent and creativity permeates "Strange Place for Snow." E.S.T., short for the Esbjörn Svensson, Trio, exploits all the strengths of a trio, allowing each member opportunities to take the lead role, to play the sideman, to function equally.

Pianist/keyboardist Esbjörn Svensson, bassist Daniel Berglund, and drummer Magnus Öström create a sensational melding of sound that taps into experimental tones, right-on improvisation, and layers of sound and melody. Sometime the music seems to be going two directions at once, like an icicle freezing on one side and melting on the other. What seems a facile melody evolves (or devolves depending on one's perspective) into a complex interplay, a weaving together of what might sound unconnected in the hands of lesser performers.

The songs sometimes startle in their starkly different tones, leaving one not quite ready to let go of the fading chords of one song as the next begins to unfold. (The bonus track here, like the one on E.S.T.'s 2001 release Somewhere Else Before is a bit odd, some of like a thumb in your ear.)

There is something of the bright, cold north infused in this jazz, but nothing like a sluggish complacency. E.S.T. takes the possibilities of what a trio can accomplish and delivers a well-burnished montage. This is a trio of equals, each able to handle the stress and joy that comes with cutting edge creativity.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By K. N. Nelson VINE VOICE on June 21, 2008
Format: Audio CD
To the international world of music's everlasting loss, Esbjorn Svensson died from a scuba diving accident this past week. May he Rest in Peace. Thankfully, he left a musical legacy worth talking about. On this album the music is so rich with experimentation and excitement that it is dazzling. I love the way his fingers dance over the keys and he tantalizes you with riffs that feel fresh and new all the way through this CD. He never overplays or hammers the keys. The first song "The Message" starts off easy and builds excitement as it moves toward the next songs which tell even deeper stories of this trio's depth as artists. All the songs are delicious; however, my favorite on the entire CD is the 10:22 long study of eastern influences on song #4 "Behind the Yashmak". The song ending is just magnificent and a bit of a shock. Listen and see what that means. Song #5 "Bound for the Beauty of the South" is haunting and very sweet. Song #6 "Years of Yearning" reveals a shimmering percussion effect that you can feel like shivers racing down your spine in this melancholic song. Song #9 "Spunky Sprawl" is very hip and a lot of fun with some amazing bass work. Great CD.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Greg on July 6, 2004
Format: Audio CD
I first heard this trio in 2003 at the Denver Botanic Gardens when they opened for K.D. Lang. As big of a fan of K.D.'s as I am, this band made the biggest impression that evening. As they played, I got up and walked the gardens until their set was almost done. I was in my own little world! These guys have taken jazz and put a slight twist on it. A very nice and refreshing one. I bought this CD from one of the band members right after their set. I plan to own more of their music. If you like Jazz at all (And I would say if you are a Pat Metheney fan) Get this CD as well as their CD "Seven Days of Falling". (Which I can't find on this site!)
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