Released early next month with an appearance at Ronnie Scott’s to follow on 26 April the former EST drummer Magnus Öström has moved far from his piano trio days and is now well established as a band leader.
Parachute is the Swede’s third album since the demise of EST following pianist Esbjörn Svensson’s death in 2008. While this album isn’t shy about ramping up energy levels at appropriate staging points and is full of maudlin drama it lacks the raw emotion of Thread of Life and the zen flow of Searching For Jupiter but gains an even more prog jazz flavour than before moving further into a no man’s land between jazz and rock that it can’t always navigate.
The album thrives on a gritty rhythmic drive heavily coloured by the sometimes flamboyant licks of guitarist Andreas Hourdakis and heartfelt pianism of Daniel Karlsson. Full of Öström originals the drummer remains a fine writer yet none of what’s on offer here quite convinces as much as before on the earlier albums. And it takes time to warm to Parachute the subtleties only gradually revealing themselves. The fleeting appearance of trumpeter Mathias Eick adds an additional plangent poignancy that the tracks already have collectively amassed in some quantity. An album to cry in your beer over.
Magnus Öström, above. Photo: Emil Nils Nylander