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The Big Takeover Issue #91
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Esbjörn Svensson Solo - Home.S. (ACT Music)

15 November 2022

Late jazz pianist Esbjörn Svensson was best known for his long-running and much-beloved eponymous trio, with whom he recorded fifteen well-regarded albums. His run with the Trio sadly came to a sudden end with his 2008 death via a scuba-diving accident, but it turns out his musical career wasn’t over yet. Discovered in the music he left behind was a fully recorded and mixed solo piano album. Home.S isn’t a set of sketches intended to be expanded into fuller productions, but a set of actual songs, given carefully crafted performances. Falling somewhere between the exuberant improvisations of Keith Jarrett and the classically-inclined near-ambience of Harold Budd, Svensson’s tracks here alternately soothe and celebrate. “Alpha,” “Zeta” and “Epsilon” traverse calm and glistening waters, keeping the spotlight solely on the melodies. The bluesy “Delta,” by contrast, digs hard into the dirt, letting some scuzz color the punchy riffing. “Eta” uses a mantra-like rhythm, its energy giving the tune energy whether it stays happy or starts to exhibit signs of melancholy. “Iota” brings the record to a close with an overtly classical piece of fleet-fingered riffage. With that, Svensson posthumously concludes his career…that is, unless there are more recordings like Home.S in the offing.