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Marialy Pacheco: A Sunshine State of Mind

By Published: September 4, 2012
Pacheco plays with a lovely sense of freedom on Songs That I Love and seems to be very comfortable in the studio. "I do feel comfortable in the studio but more when I play solo than when I play in the trio, which can be stressful. I think it's because I not only want perfection from myself, I also want it from the boys. There are so many little details that we have to be aware of. I hope that one day I can go into the studio with the trio and record in one take, but for that, you need to be in a trio that's been together for a long time. When I play solo I know what I'm going to play, and I get to practice at home. I know which order I'm going play the songs in, how I'm going to play, and then I just sit at the piano and do it. It's much easier solo, in many ways."

There's a natural flow to the order of the compositions on Songs That I Love, and for this Pacheco credits pianist Gwilym Simcock
Gwilym Simcock
Gwilym Simcock
. Simcock had come to Brisbane for a concert, and Lynette Irwin played Pacheco's recording in the car. Simcock was impressed and was keen to meet Pacheco. "What was interesting was that we come from very different countries, very different cultures, and yet we are so similar," relates Pacheco. "We have the same concepts when it comes to music, about how to approach and play a piece of music. We love the same musicians: Keith Jarrett, [guitarist] Pat Metheny
Pat Metheny
Pat Metheny
, [pianist/keyboardist] Herbie Hancock
Herbie Hancock
Herbie Hancock
and all those guys. We really connected.

"When Lyn played him the album, he suggested that the order maybe wasn't totally what it should be. Lyn said that we would welcome all suggestions, especially from an amazing pianist and composer like Gwilym. So he sent us the track list as he thought the order should be, and we thought it was fantastic. We decided to do it like that, and I'm totally grateful to Gwilym." Pacheco attended Simcock's concert in Brisbane and was bowled over. "There were moments when I wanted to scream. I thought, 'Oh my God, how can he do that?' He would melt my heart. It was a beautiful solo piano concert."

Jazz has become Pacheco's life, and there's no room for a simultaneous classical career as well. "I haven't played classical music for a while, though I do play it at home. I play Bach and Chopin, and it makes me feel so good. But I haven't recorded, because if I decide to record classical music then I'll have to stop playing jazz for a bit, because they are different worlds. It would be a big challenge, and I'd say I'd need between six months to a year just to concentrate on practicing."

Making such a commitment in the future is something Pacheco refuses to rule out. "I think I might," she says. "I think sometimes as well that in concert it would be really pretty just to play some Bach as an encore, just like that. People definitely don't expect to hear a classical piece after a solo piano concert of jazz and Cuban music."

Pacheco also talks of her desire to arrange music for dancers one day, but for now, promoting Songs That I Love, preparing the launch of her upcoming trio CD and touring are taking up her time. "We're very busy in Australia now. Later in the year, we have some concerts coming up in Melbourne and Sydney for the album's release. I'm also playing the Women's Jazz Festival in Sydney. There's one in Melbourne every year, but there's also one in Sydney now. Some things are in the air, like maybe going to Japan, then Europe again next year. I hope to play Montreux again with the boys; that would be fantastic. So, yeah, big plans. I hope everything falls into place. I'm excited. I like to be busy, and I like to be doing things. I love writing music and playing music. I think I'd be really sad if I wasn't doing that," she says and peals away in the sunny laughter that has carried her through the good times and the bad.

Selected Discography

Marialy Pacheco, Songs That I Love (Pinnacle Records, 2011)
Marialy Pacheco, Tocando Dentro (Colibri, 2009)
Marialy Pacheco Trio, Destinos (Timeless Records, 2008)
Cuba Nova, Agua (Sony Classical, 2008)
Marialy Pacheco, Mi Azul (Weltwunder Records, 2006)
Marialy Pacheco Trio, Benediciones (Weltwunder Records, 2005)

Photo Credits

Pages 1, 2, 4: Elena Schak

Pages 3, 5: Francesco Vincenzi

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