Pablo Diaz: Drumming Life

Jakob Baekgaard By

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Drumming is not usually connected with making melodies, but Diaz has a way of making his instruments sing. About his approach he says:

"You can find rhythm, melody and texture in every sound. Maybe sometime one highlights one of these features, but the others are present anyway. I try to pay attention to these three features in the sounds I'm playing, and I try to develop them. A melody on a drum set is defined by what, how and why you are playing what you are playing. The melody is not a series of notes necessarily, it's the intention, the precedence and the destination of the phrase, no matter the notes and the tuning, the idea matters, the concept behind the phrase matters."

While Diaz is shaping sounds, he doesn't think of himself as a composer:

"I compose, but I don't consider myself a composer. I'm more like an improvised composer. I just sit in front of the piano and play with notes, melodies, vamps and ideas, until I find something which sounds good to me. Then I try to develop it and bring it to a group in a rehearsal, the other musicians are the ones who finish the tune. I don't believe in getting inspired, but I believe in being inspired by everything that happens around one. It's unavoidable, but the thing is some people are more aware and some people not. I don't try to get inspired by anything. I try to do several things, like be in touch with other art forms, because I know I'll be inspired by them."

Doing many things means playing in many different projects, including the acclaimed SLD trio with the pianist Paula Shocron:

"I'm lucky to be involved in several projects I like; in these last years the most I've been doing was working with Paula Shocron, touring and recording with different musicians from different places, here in Buenos Aires or in New York, where we've been going once a year. We are working on some recordings we made. One with William Parker, one with saxophonist Christoph Gallio, one with the great clarinetist Guillermo Gregorio and the last one with singer Kristin Norderval."

"Besides this, I continue work with the trio of Enrique Norris. I'm part of the non-profit organization of arts Creatividad en Movimiento, among others projects of free improvisation as well as written music. I also work with the SLD Trío with Paula Shocron and Germán Lamonega, and we have our last release Tensegridad on HatHut. This album was a surprise for us... Werner X. Uehlinger asked us for our first album Anfitrion. He was interested in listening to it. We sent a copy and after a couple of weeks he offered us to make a new recording. We're really glad with this new one."

With his many projects and plans, Diaz continues to divide his time between his home country, America and possibly Europe:

"Well, one of my plans is to try to tour as much as I can. It's more difficult than Buenos Aires, but I'm thinking of Europe next year. I think that the new release on HatHut can be a gate to go there, also the music I'm making for Nendo Dango Records, as well as the projects which Paula and I are working on."

"If you want to catch me playing live, a big part of the year I'm in Buenos Aires, playing on the underground scene; I live in the city, where I have my work as educator. I also play in different cities around Argentina, and once a year, at least, I try to move out of the country, to New York, or to somewhere in America, Europe or wherever."

No matter where he goes, one can be sure that Diaz will play the rhythms of life that have shaped his own being and will continue to do so.

Selected Discography:
Pablo Diaz: Los Transitorios Presentes (Nendo Dango Records, 2017).
Paula Shocron/German Lamonega/Pablo Diaz: Tensegridad (HatHut Records, 2017)
SLD Trio: Amfitrion (Nendo Dango Records, 2016)
Pablo Diaz: Mouna (Kuai Music, 2014)
Pablo Diaz: Cuarteto (Kuai Music, 2014)

Photo Credit:

P. 1: Sam Nacht, Nicholas Croft
P. 2: Sam Nacht
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