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Esbjörn Svensson

(4/16/1964 – 6/14/2008)

Esbjörn Svensson (center)

I was approached by Siegfried Loch, the head of the great German record label ACT. He suggested that I should record the music of Esbjörn Svensson for my second recording for his label. It sounded exciting to do the music of E.S.T. on guitar, and it also seemed to be a logical sequel to the Keith Jarrett tribute I had done before for ACT (Notes From the Heart).

Little could I anticipate what would happen after the sessions for what became Love Is Real: The Music of Esbjörn Svensson. On June 15, 2008, I got a call from my wife; she told me that Esbjörn had died in a diving accident outside Stockholm. I had recently experienced the passings of Oscar Peterson and Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen, but this was very traumatic in a different way. Sweden, or rather, the entire world, had lost one of the most exciting new voices in jazz, and he was only 44 years old. The unpredictability and sometimes the twisted logic of life had struck again. My CD became a tribute to a pianist who was no longer among us.

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