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One of the finest jazz acts of the new millennium, Sweden's E.S.T. have found international recognition for their rather austere piano music that's as arty as it's accessible. Considering how chilly and cerebral their music can be (it reeks of a European university, but in a good way), it's amazing that young fans of downtempo, as well as longtime jazz enthusiasts, have embraced their way of using the traditional jazz piano trio format to create a new kind of music -- just imagine jazz pianist Bill Evans taking on influences from chilly art rock, deracinated hip-hop, and electronica. Like the Kraut rock art bands of the 1970s who reshaped American and British pop music in their own Teutonic image, it's exciting to hear these Scandinavians charting new musical territory instead of just copying established American jazz masters. (By the way, E.S.T. stands for the Esbjorn Svensson Trio, but the group obviously prefers having a more mysterious name that doesn't immediately identify them as a jazz band.)
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