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Passings | Esbjorn Svensson

Swedish pianist an innovator in jazz

June 20, 2008|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Esbjorn Svensson, 44, a Swedish jazz pianist whose fusion of lyrical melodies and rock-inspired electronics broke fresh ground in modern jazz, died Saturday in a diving accident off a small island near Stockholm.

Police will conduct a routine investigation of the accident, said Burkhard Hopper, manager of the musician's band, the Esbjorn Svensson Trio.

Svensson and his band won worldwide critical acclaim and several awards, including the Guinness Jazz in Europe Award, for their 2002 album "Strange Place for Snow."

The group was also named best international artist in the 2003 BBC Jazz Awards.

The band, also known as E.S.T., released "When Everyone Has Gone" in 1993 and had its international breakthrough with the 1999 album "From Gagarin's Point of View."

Hopper said the band had just finished its 12th album, "Leukocyte," to be released in September.

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