Swedish drummer Magnus Öström is best known as part of the Esbjörn Svensson Trio, which became a successful jazz-rock crossover act until Svensson’s tragically early death in a diving accident in 2008. Since then Öström has pursued a solo career (with supporting band), and this, his third album, shows him exploring similar generic territory to e.s.t. Yet the mood is very different: e.s.t. had a knack of creating slow-burning, melodic hits that lingered in the memory like a favourite aroma. They were subtle and complex, but accessible to many outside the usual jazz crowd. Öström was a childhood friend of Svensson’s and has spoken of his enduring grief at his companion’s death, and the title Parachute refers to the solace he finds in music.
Magnus Öström is finally back with the first album as a leader of his career. After more than two years of silence Magnus went back to his favorite studio, the Atlantis Studio in Stockholm. He joined up with his old friend, sound engineer Janne Hansson, to record some brand new compositions that he had written during the period following Esbjörn Svensson´s untimely passing and the dissolution of e.s.t..
Ostrom's drumming was a key element in shaping the sound of the Esbjorn Svensson Trio, functioning at two levels, by providing the rhythmic spring to the trio's step, and proving a constantly shifting, shimmering colouristic backdrop that seemed to make the trio somehow sound a 'bigger' ensemble than that of three musicians. His return to the music scene after the devastation of losing a lifelong friend and close musical collaborator is thus a cause for celebration. A strikingly original musician, the first chapter of his new career post-EST provides a panoramic view of his own musical vision and this wide ranging album moves from ambient ('Longing') to jazz-rock ('Piano Break Song') to voice ('Alifia Mia') in an ensemble dominated by the lead voice of Hourdakis' guitar. It is fitting then that the centrepiece of the album, Ostrom's highly personal tribute to Svensson, 'Ballad for E', should have guest Pat Metheny on guitar in this moving musical soliloquy. With former band mate Dan Berglund, they jointly illustrate how music can mean so much more than mere words.
Sweden's preeminent jazz fusion band the Esbjörn Svensson Trio, named after the charismatic and inventive pianist, has been a sensation in Europe since the early '90s, capturing numerous Swedish Grammys (including one for Tuesday Wonderland long before its Stateside release), a French Grammy, and gold and platinum awards in their home country, Germany and France. But they deserve more than this – a medal, actually – for finding a unique blend of melodic jazz, classical, electronica and rock – that has earned them an audience of both older jazz lovers and trendy hip-hop kids. It speaks to the freshness of their vibe that their videos play regularly on MTV Scandinavia and they're the only European jazz band ever to grace the cover of Downbeat.