Interview with David Poblete: I think that one’s personal state of mind, interests and wisdom are key factor … Videos

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Jazz interview with jazz pianist, composer David Poblete. An interview by email in writing. 

JazzBluesNews.Space: – First let’s start with where you grew up, and what got you interested in music?

David Poblete: – I was born in Santiago of Chili … Since I can remember I was involved in music. Actually one of the first things I was involved musically was a folk school band, conducted by my music teacher. A great teacher, passionate with music the encouraged me to play the “bombo legüero” which is a traditional percussion instrument used in Chilean folk music. He would take me out of class while the other studied math’s, and took me to play with the older students. I guess that experienced pretty much started things on, musically. Also, at home we would always listen to music and go to concerts, mainly classical, and I had the chance to get exposed to very different kinds of music, from my brother and from my parents. That was surely very enriching.

JBN.S: – What got you interested in picking up the piano? What teacher or teachers helped you progress to the level of playing you have today? What made you choose the piano?

DP: – Following with what I told previously, my first instrument officially was the drums, which I still play and teach today. I started playing them when I was 13. I thing, that my music teacher had something to do with that obviously, though he didn’t encourage me directly to start with them, It was pretty logical my interest for the percussion. I was the start of a lifetime with music. I had to renovate and old and humid place that my grandmother had on the back of her garden to put the drums there. She lived right in front of me, so I was very comfortable and also It was a space for me where I could develop a lot of things with great freedom. It was afterwards, when I entered the conservatory for a percussion major, when I fully started devoting to piano. It was a major second breakthrough musically speaking. The piano opened up for my the harmony, and It was incredible. My harmony teacher, organist and conductor represented a great inspiration. Also my vibes teacher, introduce me to my first jazz harmonies. Later I studied jazz with a couple of piano teachers that continued to spread my musical horizons. I have to admit that my teacher have all been great a continued source of inspiration. Once I established myself in Spain, I continued to study church organ and piano. My latest teachers, Joan Sadurní, and Gennady Dzubenko a Russian concert piano player have been great to me…

JBN.S: – How did your sound evolve over time? What did you do to find and develop your sound?

DP: – Sound has been a subject especially in the last years and it has come to evolve mainly from by my study of classical piano. Previously I was a hundred percent immerse in harmonies, lines and all that. Nowadays jazz players have acquired a great sound but it wasn’t always like that (except for remarkable ‘exceptions’, such as Bill Evans, Oscar Peterson, which by the way had a classical background), been more focused on improvisation and so forth. Not that sound for jazz players is not important, obviously, but in contrast, classical music has always been totally concerned with that matter. In my case, this has been the way of improving my sound and especially relaxation on the instrument.

JBN.S: – What practice routine or exercise have you developed to maintain and improve your current musical ability especially pertaining to rhythm?

DP: – I’m afraid I can’t offer very illuminating procedures different from what we all know nowadays. Like the great Paco de Lucía said “My father made us wake up and study our scales and arpeggios”. I teach a great number of students and the fact of the matter is that having the right guidelines and follow up the fact of the matter is that the only key for achieving technique and musicality is devoting time, lots of time, actually devoting a lifetime to music. In regards especially to rhythm, given my background as a drummer, it has been kind of a natural thing to me, although the way that rhythm applies to the piano in termes of the keys and all that requires a profound work to get things going.

JBN.S: – Which harmonies and harmonic patterns do you prefer now?

DP: – I’ve found (also not a novelty, the great jazz composers already realized that a long time ago) that classical music is a continued source of inspiration. Also, the globalization has played an important roll in approaching different harmonies. Finally, the social media, Youtube, Spotify, etc., allow us to hear an enormous amount of different music’s. But nowadays I’m focused on the contemporary composers as a source of harmonic development, especially harmonies in the limit of atonality.

JBN.S: – What do you love most about your new album 2018: <David Poblete, Manel Vega, Andre Mallau – Barna Sants>, how it was formed and what you are working on today.

DP: – Perhaps the most exciting aspect of this album is the fact that it’s a trio album. My first CD was also a trio, although it was recorded in 2003, a long time ago. The projects that followed up where either solo, quartet or even quintet. Another aspect that I’m glad about is a certain trip to the tradition, something that I always wanted to address, immerse myself in the blues idiom and straight ahead things. Also one of my loves: ballads. In my begginins I was astonished by the sound and poetry of Bill Evan’s sound on ballads and in a way it’s been a long time referent and challenge to achieve or at least approximate to that sound. The pieces, especially composed for this trio, and a great friendship with Andre and Manel are really the core ingredients. At the time I’m working on a project which involves music and poetry, and also on a solo piano album.

JBN.S: – What’s the balance in music between intellect and soul?

DP: – Great question! Unfortunately, there’s no recipe other than intuition. Leaving yourself conduct by the impulse and logic of the music which inevitably arises and leads your way through the path. Also I think that one’s personal state of mind, interests and wisdom are key factor in managing the right dose of each of them. Although one thing is clear, if there’s no soul, the music lacks its main power, touching people.

JBN.S: – Please any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?

DP: – Rather than a particular anecdote, right now if I had to recall in a single concept the whole continuum of music performance, it would be concentration and flow. For me these are the two aspects that pretty much describe the process of making music, whether it’s in an studio, live, etc. So, for example in the studio setting, concentration is the norm, and flow (the ability to let go and play) stays in the backstage trying to get into the scene and sometimes managing to do so and sometimes not. Live situations, on the contrary, for me are mainly about flow, letting concentration manage the form and so on, but especially letting yourself go, and sometimes even letting yourself get lost, is the price for greatness and spontaneity…I recall some jam sessions, for example, loosing complete sense of the audience and the situation and just let it happen…

JBN.S: – How can we get young people interested in jazz when most of the standard tunes are half a century old?

DP: – The thing is that there’re never really old. They come to life when played and improvised through by someone. In a way, it’s like classical music, how come the Goldberg Variations are still played, recorded and performed? We’ll because the come alive under the hands of the interpreter (the true interpreter, someone who plays from the perspective of the composer), and therefore, although the notes are the same, the soul and the spirit is different, and thus is never really repeated, but always new. Thoug a critic and informed audition, and especially full attention is necessary to perceive this newness.

JBN.S: – John Coltrane said that music was his spirit. How do you understand the spirit and the meaning of life?

DP: – Now that you talk about Coltrane, he is precisely the canon of that couple, music/spirit, music/life. The thing for me with Coltrane is that there’s always something more with him aside from the music. All the exploration and in depth study of the instrument, the harmonies and the quest for new musical horizons I think in the end is a spiritual quest, and a very personal one. He (and us too) looked for new platforms of expression and that transcends music, in fact I think it starts the other way around: one’s personal spiritual longings are the starting point of artistic (or other) necessities, this inner search is actually the engine of external, material searches, music being a powerful vehicle due to it’s superior abstract quality to conveying spiritual life.

JBN.S: – If you could change one thing in the musical world and it would become a reality, what would that be?

DP: – That the social value of music was equivalent to other professions in which people can earn a living with dignity without being exploited on behave of their passion. Frankly, I can’t put it any more clear that that. On the contrary, one’s job, aside from studying, playing and so on, is to teach, continuously, to people that being a musician is a profession that we’ve chosen with our heart, but that doesn’t mean that we will perform it for free.

JBN.S: – Who do you find yourself listening to these days?

DP: – I’ve had the chance to go to a live concert of Richard Bona, and it’s been all about him the last days. Incredible musician and person, it’s been a whole discovery for me and also for the message he transmits in regards to the profession. Worth checking out.

JBN.S: – Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really wanna go?

DP: – I think that since you’ve planted the seed of the Coltrane world in this interview, it would really nice going back to that session of My favorite things where he lends himself to god with his soprano sax on the melody and on the solo…that would be quite a treat.

JBN.S: – I have been asking you so far, now may I have a question from yourself…

DP: – What impulses you to maintain and promote jazz?

JBN.S: –  Thank you for answers and for cooperation with our website. We are maintain, it is our love of a jazz, but if there was a lot of invitation jazz festivals, will be would be better.

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

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