Posthumously released albums can be little more than opportunistic outtake-trawling, but not this one. Eighteen months before the Swedish pianist and composer Esbjörn Svensson's accidental death in 2008, his trio recorded nine hours of material in Sydney's 301 Studio – some of which was released as the apparently final EST album, Leucocyte. 301 is a selection from the rest. With its extended group jams, expanded electronics and reduction of solos, the set consolidates Leucocyte's shift to a sound-texture feel more like that of Australian improv trio the Necks. It's a must for EST fans – if only for new examples of the ways Svensson's fluid, Brad Mehldau-like figures mesh with the sound of Magnus Öström's rumbling drums and Dan Berglund's dramatic bass. But it's also a thoughtfully assembled balance of elements – minimalist drones, fiercely metallic fuzz-bass noise explorations, rock thrashings in which Berglund's basslines eerily recall Cream's Jack Bruce – and a real enhancement of the EST story.
John Fordham is the Guardian's main jazz critic. He has written several books on the subject, reported on it for publications including Time Out, Sounds, Wire and Word, and contributed to documentaries for radio and TV. He is a former editor of Time Out, City Limits and Jazz UK, and regularly contributes to BBC Radio 3's Jazz on 3