Interview/ Premiere: Gabriele Pribetti

Back in 2020, we featured Gabriele Pribetti (here if you want to go back). To celebrate the release of his new track ‘Swimming Pool,’ he’s given us a peek into the artist’s mind.

The sound of ‘Swimming Pool’ is warm yet fierce, with alternating delicate piano melodies, double bass, relentlessly grooving drum beats and a heavy keys undertone, all interlocking with trumpet and flugelhorn. The band combine this exciting mix of sounds with Pribettit’s brooding beautifully, and soaring saxophone notes set the mood for the rest of the track’s production. The song follows ‘In Or Out’, which premiered via Music Is My Sanctuary and appears on his upcoming ‘Reeded Edge Vol. II’ EP.

Alongside Gabriele, you’ll hear Joshua “Mcknasty” Mckenzie on drums, Graeme Flowers on trumpet and flugelhorn, Tomasz Bura on keys and Michele Montolli on double bass.

“There is something about being underwater. A unique feeling of peace and quiet that makes me feel like I’d like to stay there forever. And then another feeling creeps in: it’s survival, its raging and violent, totally opposite but perfectly coexisting with the previous one. For a few moments those two opposed feelings live in balance with each other. It’s interesting how being on stage can make you feel in a similar way sometimes. Swimming Pool is a trip underwater, this duality is expressed sonically by an acid bass synth and a soothing piano melody.”

Be prepared to hear something fresh every time you press play, no matter how loud or quietly you play it.

Pribetti will release ‘Reeded Edge Vol. II’ on 20th May.

What is your background? Tell us how you first got into music?

I come from Trieste, the Balkanic edge of Italy. My dad has been the percussionist in the local, national opera theatre for over 30 years, so he put me behind the drums before I could even speak. I started studying classical percussions at the age of 8 in the conservatory of Trieste, so actually, my first ever gigs were on tympani, playing classical music! I picked up the saxophone later on, when I was 16, as I was getting into reggae, ska and ska-jazz.

Tell us about any saxophonists that inspire your style?

Well, the tenor saxophone reference sound for me is Dexter Gordon. I love the rhythmical approach of Joshua Redman, the melodic choices of Bob Mintzer, and the breathtaking compositions of Wayne Shorter. But it was listening to Fred Reiter (aka Rocksteady Freddie) from the New York Ska-Jazz Ensemble that I decided to pick up the saxophone.

How would you describe your work?

Imagine Mark Guiliana, Wayne Shorter and Robert Glasper chilling in a room, listening to Sun Ra and speaking about Prokofiev, sounds like a lot, I know! But These are the artists that influenced my music the most. Let’s say it’s modern jazz with electronic and r&b/hip hop influences, fused with free jazz and a hint of classical and dodecaphonic music.

What’s been the journey between ‘Reeded Edge Vol. 2 and Vol 1? Also, what has influenced your music the most in the past year?

Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 were always meant to become a whole album at some point. I always admired how symphonic composers would write music focusing on the entire length of their piece, rather than only songs and hooks. I wanted to write something that feels like that, an album that feels like a whole piece but can be divided into EPs and songs. Volume 2 was written during the lockdown, so obviously, it grew in that uncertainty, fear, but also introspection and creativity many of us went through last year. I was always into symphonic music, particularly Russian composers, but during the lockdown, I fell even more in love with Prokofiev. Check his music for the “Cinderella” ballet; it’s something else.

How did Reeded Edge Vol 2 come to be? What themes or stories are found within the EP?

It’s funny; when I sat in front of my studio to start Writing it I told myself that this time I was going to keep it simpler than Vol.1, tone it down… Of course, by the third tune, I found myself going full steam in the opposite direction, and I stopped fighting it! I just welcomed whatever weird idea was coming to me and tried to find a musical place for it. In the second tune of my first EP, there is a short story about self-respect, rules, and emancipation. In Volume 2 the story will continue, giving a totally different take to these subjects. Both stories were written in Italian by my brother Stefano Pribetti who is a super talented writer and journalist, translated to English by me and recorded by English actor Sam Rix.

Could you tell us about the piece of equipment you can’t live without and why?

Well, the obvious ones would be my Sequoia tenor sax and my Brancher mouthpiece, which I’ve been using consistently for the past 13 years, but lately, I’m getting more and more into pedals and production, and the “Blooper” from the company “Chase bliss” has me a bit obsessed… It’s a loop pedal that lets you modify your loop in unthinkable ways; It’s basically a box of ideas, perfect for writing and producing, but also super fun to use live!

Can you recommend three albums by tenor saxophonists that everyone should hear?

There are so many iconic albums from tenor saxophonists that should be heard by everyone. Tuff choice! I’ll recommend these ones, as they resonate with me particularly. “Doin’ Allright” by Dexter Gordon for the best sounding tenor saxophone imo. “The Cape Verdian Blues” by the Horace Silver Quartet feat J.J. Johnson for the beautiful compositions. “Compass” Joshua Redman for musical freedom and splendid interplay.

What’s coming up?

Well, My Reeded Edge Vol. 2 Is out on the 20th of May, and the EP launch will be at the “Spice Of Life” in Soho on the 18th of May. It’s quite a different experience to hear my music live, and I’m super excited to hear how the new one will sound on a stage! Also, I joined a new trio project called “Jagama”, we just recorded an album that will be out soon. It’s actually quite grunge/punk/jazzish/psychedelic… lots of pedals! So keep an ear out for this too!

CF Smith

Permeating your ears with good music.

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