Posted by: SUSAN DOOLAN
Each an award-winning guitarist with music that is as unique to them as their signature — join forces.
PRO — Pavlo, Rik Emmett, and Oscar Lopez. A 50-city concert tour and a brand new album called Trifecta, a blending of musical styles for a innovative new sound. PRO plays Barrie next weekend.
It was Pavlo’s idea. Growing up listening to guitar trio John McLaughlin, Al DiMeola and Paco DeLucia, he quickly became a fan when he saw them in concert.
“From that concert — I’ve always loved that — and at the back of my head, I wanted to revisit that and almost make it, if you will, a Canadian version,” Pavlo said. “Obviously, there are a lot of great musicians (out there), but you also have to find the right chemistry. And also the playing has to gel and everything else.”
What’s a guitar player to do when he’s looking for another musician, one he is a fan of, but has never met in real life because of their mutually-busy schedules? Visit myspace.com and write him a letter about the project.
As it happens, Lopez didn’t think he was crazy at all. In fact, the two-time Juno-award winner was a fan of Pavlo and considers him to be “one of the most amazing guitar players in the world.”
He also liked the trio idea. So when Lopez, a Calgary resident, was in Toronto to do a concert, they met and became friends over lots of ouzo.
Still, that doesn’t mean things will mesh in the playing, performing or songwriting arena. That’s a team sport with no room for egos, something all three determined to keep in check, out of respect for each other’s talent and for the good of the project.
“At the heart of it, it sounds corny, but it’s pretty straightforward and true, that we all share this passion and love for the guitar, and that’s what this is all about. It’s the common ground,” said Emmett, who threw his lot in with the other two to take his guitar playing in a different direction.
He’s no slouch with the guitar either, and has won numerous awards for it, from his earlier work with rock trio Triumph and for his later solo work. In 2005, he was named guitarist of the year at the Canadian Smooth Jazz Awards. He’s also a singer, as is Lopez, and the PRO trio plan to include vocals in a medley of Beatles songs — arranged their way — during the concert.
“Mostly, it’s an instrumental concert with the usual antics PRO are known for individually. They’re also having a good time, so expect lots of humour and fun, too.”
“It’s going to be wild because, obviously, we have our tunes, but we’re all from different backgrounds,” said Pavlo, who performed solo in Barrie a couple of years ago. “I love to dance, so nothing’s going to stop me from going out and dancing in the audience. We’re sort of leaving things open-ended. Every night will be unique — trust me.”
The three men also share a love of melody. When they came together a year and a half ago to record an album, within a week, they had 80% of the songs written. The new album, named Trifecta for “a successful phenomenon that comes in threes,” is blend of all their music — Pavlo’s Mediterranean influence, Emmett, who spans folk, rock and jazz with ease, and Lopez, who incorporates everything from jazz to blues and pop. “Hopefully, the people will take the chance and come and see three crazy guys playing great music,” Lopez laughed.
Gryphon Theatre presents Pavlo, Rik Emmett, and Oscar Lopez, Saturday, Jan. 30, at the Georgian College Theatre, Barrie, at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are $42.50 and are available at the box office or by calling 728-4613.