E.S.T. / Esbjörn Svensson Trio

Seven Days of Falling

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Available for quite some time as an import before the tiny Philadelphia-based indie 215 Records finally released it stateside, complete with a bonus live DVD, 2003's Seven Days of Falling is every bit the equal of E.S.T.'s earlier records. Misguided American media comparisons to the highly overrated the Bad Plus have done pianist Esbjörn Svensson, bassist Dan Berglund, and drummer Magnus Ostrom a grave disservice, as their music is far more wide-ranging and much less gimmicky. Despite occasional forays into rock influences like "O.D.R.I.P." and a few brief passages that skirt the edges of outside free improv, there's an elegance and shapeliness to the trio's work that has more in common with the cerebral cool of Bill Evans (particularly on the quietly gorgeous opener "Ballad for the Unborn") or the effortless melodic grace of the Vince Guaraldi Trio ("Evening in Atlantis," "Believe, Beleft, Below"). Seven Days of Falling is a ravishingly beautiful, musically captivating album. Bonus track alert: hidden after the nervy "O.D.R.I.P." is the Sinatra-like ballad "Love Is Real," featuring guest vocals from Josh Haden, son of Charlie and brother of Petra.

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