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 Pablos recording, production and orchestration
skills. The programmed drums are well-suited to serve the music within,
yet upon listening to Reminiscent Moods, its clearly
Pablos 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 Pablos 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
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 grandmothers 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. Its 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.
You also studied with classical guitarist Eduardo Isaac. How did learning
classical guitar affect your musical intellect?
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
keyboards and piano start to interest you? You are adept on the electric
bass as well.
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?
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 Ive 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
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
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.
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. Its 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 doesnt 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. Its what creates a sense of a journey
in the album, which people can enjoy
hopefully as much as I
mwe3: What musicians do you rank among your biggest influences?
Does rock music still interest you or do you feel its too limited
and can a great musician play across genres?
Embon: Great musicians should be able to play across genres. Thats
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
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
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 doesnt 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?
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
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
mwe3: What other plans do you have in focus for 2020? Tell
us about the new album youre planning and how you feel it will
contrast with Reminiscent Moods and when can we expect this
next album in 2020?
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)
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.