Swedish jazz pianist dies

Esbjorn Svensson pictured far right
Esbjorn Svensson pictured far right

Swedish jazz pianist Esbjorn Svensson has died in a diving accident outside Stockholm. He was 44.

Svensson's fusion of lyrical melodies and rock-inspired electronics broke fresh ground in modern jazz, and the Esbjorn Svensson Trio (EST) earned worldwide acclaim and several awards for their 2002 album Strange Place For Snow, including the Guinness Jazz In Europe Award.

The group was also named best international artist in the 2003 BBC Jazz Awards and in 2005 became the first European jazz band to feature on the cover of the US jazz magazine Downbeat.

Svensson died 14 June following a diving accident off a small island near Stockholm, according to the band's manager, Burkhard Hopper. Police will conduct a routine investigation of the accident, he said.

Hopper paid tribute to his client's influence on shaping contemporary jazz. "There was a certain mystique about his music and the interplay with his fellow musicians was absolutely unique."

EST band had just finished their 12th album, Leukocyte, to be released in September 2008.