Top positive review
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A Fitting Epitaph.
on 20 April 2011
I had been aware of E.S.T. for quite a while, but had never bought any of their albums and was moved to buy this after the tragic death of their leader. At the time it seemed like a very moving tribute and it was difficult to be objective about this. However, with a certain distance, it now looks like the best "epitaph" that Esbjorn Svensson could have had.
The music says it all and you start with the incredibly poignant "From Gagarin's Point of View" which is sad but beautiful - simple but eloquent. As an opener it is simply breathtaking in context and never fails to move me.
The album moves on to livelier territory and at times you have an acoustic version of Drum 'n Bass - fast rhythmic workouts that are exciting and exhilerating. While the Piano,Double Bass and Drums trio is a classic Jazz lineup - generally associated with sophisticated but gentle music - EST can rock out and they introduce effects in a subtle but effective manner.
The sound is always top quality and the instruments are perfectly recorded - the acoustic interplay of the group is the core of their ethic. But there are effects on the bass which add interest and bring that to the foreground, as just as much a solo instrument, as the piano.
There are tunes here that really stay with you and some great grooves, as well as an approach to improvising that is unique to these players.
The music here is from 1999 to 2008 - so it's the later part of their career and certainly their most mature and well-recorded. This gives the package a consistency of quality and feel, which makes it more like a single album than a compilation.
There really could not be a better introduction to their studio work than this and possibly not a better tribute to a great talent who will be sorely missed.