R.I.P. e.s.t.

Esbjorn Svensson, jazz pianist and lead of the Esbjorn Svensson Trio (e.s.t.) died this weekend in a scuba diving accident.  I saw them play once at the Dakota in Minneapolis and was mesmerized; I have a bunch of their CDs and iTunes CDs and a DVD of them playing.  The best is “Seven Days of Falling” and I highly recommend you check it out even if you are not a jazz fan, as this is pretty rock-and-roll for jazz.  They were practically single-handedly responsible for the worldwide recognition of Scandinavian jazz in the last few years.

I am getting really tired of the whole tragic-death-at-a-young-age thing right now; I’m feeling pretty fragile and concerned for the welfare of myself and my friends between the ages of 30 and 60.  Now it’s true that there are some things that are more risky than others; legal drug cocktails a la Heath Ledger, scuba diving, bungee jumping, small private aircraft, one could make a long list of over-the-top risky behavior.  But also the things we do normally can be bad–Tim Russert’s death was apparently due in part to his just having gotten off a long-haul flight.  I have done the trans-Atlantic crossing over 20 times in the last 5 years, should I be concerned?  I never worry about planes crashing any more; I was totally preoccupied with that when I was a child after seeing the movie about the flight that crashed into the bridge across the Potomac.  That movie haunted me well into my 20s.  But now it’s a different sort of fear that starts to creep in.  Mortality.  Or, Death: the High Cost of Living.   What a way to feel on a busy Monday…

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5 responses to “R.I.P. e.s.t.

  1. It is very sad, I was surfing the web to listen to some online radio on a Swedish website and saw the headline: How EST are remembered.. and could not believe what I was reading… We do get more upset when somebody young dies and in our time somebody in their 40s is considered young right? Esbjörn Svensson and his band had so much more to give to the fans. I saw them in London last year, amazing performance… rip

  2. Well, Tim Russert also had a diagnosed heart disease, and so if the flying was a factor, it was only because it was exacerbating an established condition. Not any less sad, but not quite the same set of circumstances for you.

    I understand the underlying fear, though. I’ve already lost two of my friends from high school, so I’ve been having this conversation with myself for a while.

  3. I remember Merry telling me that Jeff Buckley (?) had drowned at a young age. I swear, now that I am old as Methuselah, I now tend to avoid mildly risky things I did unthinkingly when younger (except for still eating ice cream, wich I think of as calcium therapy).

  4. Yes Kurmudge, Buckley was definitely another of the young, talented and apparently tortured types. Like Heath Ledger. I thought Ryan Adams was heading that way but he appears to have dragged himself out of the abyss.

  5. Interesting commentary on the dead-too-young thing here, mentions both Buckley and Svensson…
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/06/19/DDAU11BA0B.DTL&type=health

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