Pianist and composer Esbjörn Svensson looms among the most influential and innovative figures in contemporary jazz, drawing on inspirations spanning from Baroque to techno to create a body of work that earned both commercial and critical approval. Svensson was born in Västeras, Sweden, on April 16, 1964 -- his mother was a classical pianist and his father a die-hard jazz buff, but in spite of his classical training he first gravitated toward pop, playing in a series of amateur rock & roll bands alongside high-school classmate and drummer Magnus Öström. After studying music at Stockholm's Kungliga Musikhögskolan, Svensson worked as a session player, and in 1985 formed a bop-inspired duo with drummer Fredrik Norén. In 1993, he reconnected with Öström, and together with bassist Dan Berglund they formed the Esbjörn Svensson Trio, which would become universally known by the acronym E.S.T. Although the group's debut LP, When Everyone Has Gone, earned scant attention, the trio quickly emerged as a fixture of the Swedish festival circuit in addition to backing singers including Viktoria Tolstoy and Louise Hoffsten -- while Svensson's piano balanced the structural complexity of his classical background with the improvisational daring of postwar influences like Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett, Öström's powerhouse drumming channeled more mainstream influences like rock and funk, and in time E.S.T. earned a fan following that extended far beyond the confines of the conventional jazz cognoscenti.