Despite the fact that 2008’ Leucocyte, would be the Esbjörn Svensson Trio's final album due to the tragic scuba diving accident that killed Svensson, this was a band that had traversed such wide musical territory they deserved a retrospective treatment simply to sum up what had transpired between the release of 1993’s When Everyone Has Gone and that premature finale. While this 70-minute single disc doesn’t contain any unreleased material, or pre-1999 material (in favor of presenting the trio’s fully developed aesthetic), it is beautifully compiled. Svensson as both composer and pianist was influenced by everyone from Thelonious Monk and Keith Jarrett to Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays, as well as loads of rock and pop musicians. Bassist Dan Berglund, besides being classically trained, also loved hard rock as well as jazz, and was attracted to its most physical and aesthetically refined players, from Charles Mingus to Barre Phillips, while drummer/percussionist Magnus Öström loved drummers as diverse as Billy Higgins, Elvin Jones, and contemporary Manu Katche. These 13 tracks point to a unifying point of view of strengths and influences -- as well as nuances and the love of physical space -- that made E.S.T. not only one of the most accessible jazz piano trios of all time, but also one of its most adventurous; they were at the forefront of reinventing its role in modern jazz. While everything in this set is top-notch, particular highlights include “Believe,” “Beleft,” Below,” the short excerpt from Leucocyte’s nearly half-hour title track, “Dodge the Dodo,” “From Gagarin’s Point of View,” “Goldwrap,” and "Dolores in a Shoe.S.T.and." Highly recommended for the curious; a killer mixtape for the fan.
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AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek