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Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Paula Shocron and Pablo Diaz: Always In Motion (part 1)

Paula Shocron, William Parker, and Pablo Diaz. Photo by Peter Gannushkin
By Paul Acquaro

The Free Jazz Blog has given the musical adventures of drummer Pablo Diaz and pianist Paula Shocron some attention over the past few years, first with a review of the SLD Trio's first album Anfitrion, then on their follow up, Tensegridad, and again on a few recordings on their NendoDango label. They were also, a few years ago, the subject of a fantastic profile in the Wire on the improvisational music scene in Buenos Aries, Argentina, where the two call home - when they are not traveling the world. Relentless and restless, they have been making nearly annual trips to New York City where they have been embraced by musicians such as  William Parker, Andrew Drury, and many others. Last winter, they toured as a duo through Europe. With the help of the Bielecki Foundation, they are back in the north for Canada's Guelph Festival and several shows in NYC. If you read this in time, you can still catch them on September 28 at Instrumental Underground series  and on the 29th at Scholes Street Studio in Brooklyn.

Today and tomorrow we're reviewing three recent trio recordings from Diaz and Shocron, each with the help from a different friend. We'll kick it off each day with a quick Q&A with the pair ...

Free Jazz Blog: You have been doing a lot of traveling, tell us about it...
Pablo Diaz: Yes, we played with Guillermo Gregorio at the Guelph Jazz Festival in Canada, presenting our last work Diálogos, and now we’re playing in NYC at different venues, with that project and with other combos. Then we'll come back to Argentina, where we have some more concerts, a residency, and some other work. Then we’re trying to set up a bunch of concerts around Europe in February 2020, but nothing confirmed yet.

We love to travel, and making music in different places, in different situations, with different kinds of musicians and artists. We are both are really involved in improvisation, not only with music but also in performance, and other different ways of artistic expressions. We’ve tried to go on tour once or twice a year since 2014, whether around different countries and cities, or around our country.

At this moment we’re still really excited about Canada; we’d never been there, and the Guelph Jazz Festival is a really important festival for this music. We’re really glad to have had the opportunity to play there and share the festival with great groups and musicians we admire. Also, we’re happy to be in NY again, and this time with support from the Robert D. Bielecki Foundation. We've really looked forward to playing with Guillermo, William Parker, Kristin Norderval, and of course our friends Ras Moshe, Matt Lavelle and Daniel Carter. We have several concerts and we’re recording some new material!

FJB: Any unusual combos or venues?

PD: Well, I think that the unusual situation here is that we have received support from a foundation to do our work under the best conditions. For the free improvisation and experimental music scene, this is not so common, so I think that's the unusual thing.

On the other hand, I guess there are no unusual combos or venues, but I think it's been a good tour with great concerts, at great spaces such as Spectrum, Ibeam, Scholes St Studios, Mirror Tea House, and Brooklyn Commons.

Playing with Guillermo in a trio is really important for us; our album Diálogos, released on Fundacja Słuchaj from Poland (editor's note: review coming tomorrow), is a good work and we’re happy to play this music at great venues. We’ll also present Emptying the Self, the recording we made with William Parker, and Future Retrospection (reviewed today), the one we made with Kristin Norderval.

FJB: How did you connect with the Robert D. Bielecki Foundation?

PD: Robert got in touch with Paula because he liked very much her playing on the recording Tensegridad (hatOLOGY) and also, at that time (January 2018), he was about to go to Argentina. We arranged a meeting in Buenos Aires and after some hours of chatting about music, art, politics, culture, etc, he offered us his support in order to push and help to raise our work. He is a great person and he is deeply and sincerely committed to creative/avant-garde arts.

FJB: How can people find out where/when you're playing?
PD: We use Facebook and Instagram, where we post our activities all the time, but who is interested can also check out our websites and