Esbjörn Svensson

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Esbjörn Svensson
Esbjörn Svensson.jpg
Esbjörn Svensson,
in concert in Ghent, 2007.
Background information
Birth name Bror Fredrik Esbjörn Svensson
Born (1964-04-16)April 16, 1964
Skultuna, Sweden
Died June 14, 2008(2008-06-14) (aged 44)
Stockholm, Sweden
Genres Jazz
Instruments Piano
Years active 1980–2008
Labels Dragon Records
Associated acts Esbjörn Svensson Trio

Esbjörn Svensson (April 16, 1964 – June 14, 2008) was a Swedish jazz pianist and founder of the jazz group Esbjörn Svensson Trio, commonly known as E.S.T.

Svensson became one of Europe's most successful jazz musicians at the turn of the 21st century before dying, at the age of 44, in a scuba diving accident.[1]

Early life and work

Svensson was introduced to both classical music and jazz very early in life through his mother, a classical pianist, and his father, a jazz enthusiast, and first showed interest in classical music. In his teenage years, he developed an interest in rock music and started a few garage bands with classmates, before going back to classical music and finally making his way towards jazz. At the age of 16, Svensson went to a music college, where he took piano lessons. He later studied at the Royal College of Music, Stockholm, for four years.

In 1990 Svensson started his own jazz combo with his childhood friend Magnus Öström on percussion. Both had made their first appearances on stage as sidemen in the Swedish and Danish jazz scene during the 1980s. In 1993 bassist Dan Berglund joined the duo, and the Esbjörn Svensson Trio was born. The trio released its debut album, When Everyone Has Gone, in 1993, and in the following years established itself in the Nordic jazz scene. Svensson was nominated for Swedish Jazz Musician of the Year in 1995 and 1996.

Rise to prominence, success, and death

The trio's international breakthrough came with their 1999 album From Gagarin’s Point Of View, their first album to be released outside Scandinavia. With the release of their albums Good Morning Susie Soho (2000) and Strange Place for Snow (2002), the trio drew the attention of United States audiences. In 2002, they went on a 9-month tour through Europe, the U.S. and Japan. Their subsequent albums, Seven Days of Falling (2003), Viaticum (2005), and Tuesday Wonderland (2006), were equally well received by critics and fans and resulted in several music industry award nominations as well as making the jazz and pop charts.

E.S.T. was the first European jazz combo to make the front page of the American jazz magazine Down Beat (May 2006 issue). Their last live album, E.S.T. Live in Hamburg, a recording of their fall 2006 concert in Hamburg, Germany, as part of the Tuesday Wonderland Tour, was released in November 2007. Before Svensson's death, the trio was working on the concept of integrating electronic and mechanical sound expansions into a jazz trio context. E.S.T.'s last performance took place in Moscow, Russia, at the Tchaikovsky Hall, on May 30, 2008. In addition to his work with E.S.T., Svensson recorded albums with Nils Landgren, Lina Nyberg and Viktoria Tolstoy.

On June 14, 2008, Svensson went missing during a scuba diving session on Ingarö outside Stockholm, Sweden. His diving companions, including an instructor and his then 14-year-old son, eventually found him lying unconscious on the seabed.[2][3] Having sustained serious injuries, he was rushed to Karolinska University Hospital by helicopter, but could not be saved. He was 44 years old, married and the father of two sons.[1]


As leader/co-leader

Studio albums
Live albums
  • E.S.T. Live '95 (1995, released in Sweden as Mr. & Mrs. Handkerchief) ACT Music + Vision
  • Live in Stockholm (2003) DVD, recorded December 10, 2000 – including videos and an interview
  • Live in Hamburg (2007, recorded November 22, 2006)
Compilation albums
  • Somewhere Else Before (U.S. compilation from From Gagarin's Point of View and Good Morning Susie Soho, 2001)
  • Retrospective - The Very Best of E.S.T. (2009)

As sideman

With Lasse Lindgren

  • To My Friends (Dragon, 1992)[4]

With Nils Landgren

  • Layers of Light (ACT Music, 2004)


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Jazz champion Svensson dies at 44". BBC News. 16 June 2008. Retrieved 29 May 2015. 
  2. "Jazzmusikern Esbjörn Svensson är död | Nyheter | Aftonbladet". Retrieved 5 November 2015. 
  3. "Ingen misstänkt efter Esbjörn Svenssons död | Nyheter | Aftonbladet". Retrieved 5 November 2015. 
  4. Comiskey, Ray (March 4, 1994) "Jazz". Irish Times. p. 10.

External links