PABLO EMBON
Reminiscent Moods
(Embon Music)

 

A one-man jazz-rock band if there ever was one, Pablo Embon gets it all together on his 2019 album entitled Reminiscent Moods. Combining a diversity of instrumental music genres, from jazz-fusion and smooth jazz to funk, Latin music, World music, folk and more, the 12-track CD was written and recorded by Pablo at his home base in Israel between August 2018 and April 2019. Originally from Argentina, with its rich traditions of Tango and Andean folk music, Pablo has thus far released 18 solo albums and Reminiscent Moods is being called his best release yet. Upbeat, 21st century instrumental jazz rounded out by occasional fusion grooves, Reminiscent Moods is a solid showcase for Pablo’s recording, production and orchestration skills. The programmed drums are well-suited to serve the music within, yet upon listening to Reminiscent Moods, it’s clearly Pablo’s keyboards, bass and electric guitar playing that makes the album a first-rate effort. The CD cover art is imaginative, even funny, perhaps underscoring the self-produced nature of the recordings. Pablo cites Pat Metheny, Jaco Pastorius and early music from jazz-fusion legends Return To Forever, especially the early RTF with Airto, among his main musical influences. With Pablo’s colorful music history highlighting an array of musical influences, a clear sense of musical originality comes quickly into focus in the diverse instrumental jazz grooves of Reminiscent Moods.

 




mwe3.com presents an interview with
PABLO EMBON


mwe3
: Tell us something about growing up in Argentina. Your bio says, while growing up you were exposed to a range of Argentinean music including Tango and folk music. What music were you first amazed by and when did you become interested in jazz and jazz-rock and fusion?

Pablo Embon: When I was about 6 years old my interest in music and piano specifically came from being at my grandmother’s house. She was a piano teacher and had a piano at home. I got closer to the piano, first starting playing by ear on my own and then my grandmother would teach me a few basic things. I also started improvisation on the piano and created a few songs even without knowing how to read music. At about 9 years old, started my passion for the guitar. I had a neighbor who had a chords music book, including bands such as the Beatles, Carpenters, Bee Gees, Beach Boys and others. It got me really excited to be able to play chords and sing all the songs I liked. Once I became more familiar with the instrument I started composing songs and writing lyrics in Spanish and English. Bands like Queen, Alan Parsons Project and Supertramp changed my life forever. The jazz idea came in early from my passion for the band Supertramp, which was modern music with clear jazz elements brought up by keyboardist Rick Davies, and later on by listening to smooth jazz on the radio.

mwe3: Do you still have family in Argentina and do you keep up with the news from Argentina? How would you compare life in Israel today with Argentina?

Pablo Embon: I have a very small family. It’s just my mother and my sister in Argentina. I visit as often as I can, also to visit my old friends whom I used to play with in my youth. These reencounters are always very fulfilling and emotional in nature. Argentina, with all the great memories, love and excitement, is still my birth country and always a part of me no matter where I am in the world. After being so many years in Israel, thirty as a matter of fact, a different culture, a new perspective of the world and new music, has embellished music ideas in me.

mwe3: You also studied with classical guitarist Eduardo Isaac. How did learning classical guitar affect your musical intellect?

Pablo Embon: I started taking guitar lessons with Eduardo when I was 16 years old. My mother and Eduardo used to work as teachers in the same institute, they knew each other well and my mother suggested me to start lessons with him. It is an unforgettable experience to being able to interact with him. He helped me develop technical skills and dexterity in the instrument along with being able to read and transcribe music.

mwe3: When did keyboards and piano start to interest you? You are adept on the electric bass as well.

Pablo Embon: The interest in other instruments came along when I started playing in bands and some times we needed to switch instruments such as the bass guitar, keyboards, flute and cello among the musicians. For me, the ability to be able to express yourself with different instruments provides you a great tool to compose and arrange music. Experimentation was always on my mind when making music. My last project before immigrating to Israel, in collaboration with music friends, was called “Planeta XVI” (Planet 16). It was recorded and mixed at my friends recording studio in 1988. It included mostly experimental music.

mwe3: You have released 18 albums since 2004. You are one of the best-kept secrets in the international jazz-fusion scene! How would you compare your latest album, Reminiscent Moods with your other recent albums and how do you feel your music has progressed and/or changed over the many album releases?

Pablo Embon: My music, along with its intent, transitioned dramatically throughout the years. The early projects were mostly in line with what I used to create in a modern music style, slowly transitioning to hybrid music with jazz elements. At some point of time I found jazz fascinating in the sense that it opened a whole new dimension to create “unlocked” music. However, the recent projects will still have this world/contemporary gene complementing the jazz nature. In addition, I started studying advanced musical concepts including advanced jazz harmony concepts, Asian musical styles such as Indian Ragas, and other world musical arrangement styles which I find fascinating when combining with jazz style roots.

mwe3: What are the challenges of recording all the tracks by yourself compared with working with other musicians in a studio setting? Is it easier or more challenging to create all the music yourself and, are you playing live concerts or performances in Israel?

Pablo Embon: Even though recording everything on your own might be perceived as a major challenge, for me it is considered one of the most wonderful things to do in music and as such, I put a great deal of effort and detail on how the different recorded tracks interact with each other to create a feeling that the music source is essentially a band. I usually create different types of arrangements and styles for each instrument to create such a feeling. For example, guitar and piano, which would suggest these two instruments are being played by two different players. Since I’ve been doing this for so many years, this became second nature in me, and today I only focus on making sure that everything in the track flows naturally and keeps the openness it deserves. I have not been performing. I consider myself more of a composer and arranger but not a performer.

mwe3: What is the process for recording a track? You write the track first and plan everything out before recording? How about the drums sounds? The drumming on Reminiscent Moods is excellent as well.

Pablo Embon: It all depends on how everything is developed. Most of the times, I compose and arrange as I go along with recording the different tracks. But if any given idea was born on a given instrument, than I start laying out this idea by recording that particular instrument first and then I would develop the arrangements as other instruments are brought in. In most cases the percussion or drums tracks are part of the initial layout of the song.

mwe3: Tell us about the guitars you feature on the Reminiscent Moods album. Are you a guitar collector? Are some guitars more suited for different styles or specific tracks and do you sometimes overdub different guitars on certain tracks? Like on the track “Getaway”, which is a very jazzy track. What guitars are on that track? Is that track more in the traditional jazz style?

Pablo Embon: I do not own as many guitars as people may guess. I am particularly focused on specific sounds in the guitars I use for my recordings: clean
jazz guitar, 12-string guitar, acoustic guitar and classic guitar. This is pretty much the pallet you will mostly hear in my recordings because these sounds are the ones that help me get the music message I want to bring. My lead guitar for jazz is an Ibanez PM120, which has an extraordinary and inspiring sound.

mwe3: How do your talents as an orchestrator and record producer enhance your recording career and how can orchestrations change the sound dynamics of a track? Have you ever worked with another music producer?

Pablo Embon: I have never worked with another music producer before, but I see this as a great opportunity for the future. I spent several years studying and developing skills for music arrangement and orchestration because I perceive myself being able to contribute the most of it in my music. My concept is such that any song can be elevated and enhanced with a good arrangement. It’s like enhancing visual senses with 3D.

Music must be dynamic and must be interesting and intriguing every single second in order to be successful. You need to be able to keep listeners on the edge of their seat most of the time to maintain that connection with them throughout the song. This is why I spend a lot of time when thinking of the concept in a project to be able to succeed in this objective. This is particularly true when producing instrumental music since the lead vocal doesn’t exist.

mwe3: It seems like you strike a balance between upbeat music and more deeper, introspective sounds. Do you like to feature a cross section of musical moods on your albums and what do you prefer, the dark or the light shades?

Pablo Embon: My thinking is that when looking at a music project, you should be able to present the listeners with different sounds and approaches. It’s what creates a sense of a “journey” in the album, which people can enjoy… hopefully as much as I do.

mwe3: What musicians do you rank among your biggest influences? Does rock music still interest you or do you feel it’s too limited and can a great musician play “across genres”?

Pablo Embon: Great musicians should be able to play across genres. That’s what makes them great. When I was a teenager I used to admire Rick Wakeman. For me it was amazing… the idea of being able to play like him. Pat Metheny, Brad Mehldau, Al Di Meola, they all seeded in me some sort of directions where I should go as a musician.

mwe3: Speaking about deep music that combines a wide shade of different moods, tell us about the track “Ocean Deep”. Is that a good example of the orchestral styles of your music? It kind of reminded me a bit of Steve Howe, with a prog-style guitar fusion track and the percussion gives it a kind of Latin feel too.

Pablo Embon: “Ocean Deep” is a very special tune for me. And the meaning of title was exactly the message I wanted to give and transport the listeners to. The arrangement is consistent with that. Yes was one of my favorite bands when I was a teenager so some of the elements in the songs may have been drawn from those roots.

mwe3: As a composer and recording artist, do you listen to many bands and artists these days or do you mostly focus on your own music?

Pablo Embon: I listen to music I like all the time but it is more of an active listening style… performance nuances, chords sequences, harmony, techniques, etc. Any musician should be listening to other musicians they feel a bond with in order to grow as musicians themselves. That doesn’t mean that their influences will prevent anyone making creative music by his/her own.

mwe3: How do you stay in shape as a musician, composer and music producer? Do you spend a lot of time practicing or mostly composing?

Pablo Embon: I do have my practicing routine for guitar and piano. The fact that my core instruments are two, this makes it quite challenging for me in this nowadays business environment, time requirements and family. Practicing an instrument is the only way to be able to become a better musician and a better performer.

mwe3: And also with all the changes in the music / recording world of high-tech, how do you keep up with all the changes in sound tech?

Pablo Embon: Technology has definitely changed and has made music production affordable and easier for musicians and producers. But technology should not change your music goals, so the key is to use technology to enhance your music as opposed to using technology as the only purpose for music.

mwe3: What other plans do you have in focus for 2020? Tell us about the new album you’re planning and how you feel it will contrast with Reminiscent Moods and when can we expect this next album in 2020?

Pablo Embon:
The new album is scheduled to be out in the first quarter of 2020. (see You Tube link at right for a playlist on Pablo's new unreleased material) It has few distinctions from Reminiscent Moods as there are more experimental tracks and features performances on customized instruments such as the “Una Corda” a one-string-per-key piano instrument, and vintage instruments such as the Harmochord and others. Hopefully this will add another layer of diversity and color to the album, which the listeners can enjoy.



 

 
   
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