E.S.T. (the Esbjörn Svensson Trio) has often been thought of as the European Bad Plus, although its sound is actually different and their approach is subtler. But like the Bad Plus and Medeski, Martin & Wood, E.S.T. has revitalized the piano trio in jazz even though the individual musicians sometimes think of the group as a pop band that plays jazz. Pianist Esbjörn Svensson originally wanted to play drums but since there was a piano at his house in Sweden and his childhood friend Magnus Ostrom played drums, he learned piano. They both became professional musicians and led a trio as early as 1990. In 1993 they met bassist Dan Berglund and E.S.T. was born, making their recording debut that year.
In the mid-1990s their recording E.S.T. Plays Monk was released by a pop-oriented label, selling very well in Sweden. Their CDs began to be released beyond Scandinavia in 1999 and international fame soon followed. E.S.T. first toured the United States in 2002. They became so highly by their fellow musicians (Pat Metheny is a fan) that they were hired to open for k.d. lang on a tour. Their 2003 album Seven Days of Falling made the pop album charts in Germany, France and Sweden, a remarkable feat for a jazz-oriented piano trio. While E.S.T. has a bit of electronica, funk, pop, rock, fusion and Western classical music in their open-minded style, they have retained their roots in jazz while not being restricted to straightahead swinging.