Michael Simon & Roots United: Revelacion (2006)
Michael Simon was born in a family where music was a strong persuasion. His father Hadsy, a guitarist and singer, first inculcated the love of music in him, while his brothers Edward and Marlon turned his ear towards jazz. After attending a concert by Irakere in Curacao, he went to Cuba and learned the music of that country. Three years later, in 1992, he moved to the Netherlands, where he now resides.
Simon composed and arranged all the music on Revelación, which falls not only into the Latin jazz category, but also the realm of Afro-Venezuelan rhythms as well. He makes full use of the styles and turns out a highly satisfying record.
Simon uses the blues as the base for "Juliana Bridge Bomba-Blues, fermenting it with a bop beat which he essays with technical facility on the trumpet, sounding edgy and flinty as he drives the pulse. Jose Luis Lopretti brings in a lighter hue, his fingers dancing on the piano keys, the whole wrapped in bomba and calypso rhythms. There is a lot in there, but it is all put together seamlessly, making it an aural delight.
While brother Marlon plays drums on all the tracks, Edward (piano) joins Michael for the remarkable "Renacer. The two are also brothers in spirit, playing with a striking depth of communication. In doing so, they ignite the tune with an intense, warm glow, turning this ballad into one of the highlights of the album.
Simon finds his "Spiritual Affinities with alto saxophonist Konstantin Klashtorni. This composition has a lot going for it: not only are there several Venezuelan rhythms, but Simon and Konstantin show how they can ride on top of them and create jazz harmony. Konstantin daubs a wide tonal canvas and complements Simon perfectly, both in the pictures they create and in their tradeoffs along the way. In doing so, they put the final stamp of class on the recording.
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Track Listing: Before I Go; Juliana Bridge Bomba-Blues; My Response; Ocho Rios Mood; Mangueriando; Por Instinto; Renacer; Spiritual Affinities.
Personnel: Michael Simon: trumpet, flugelhorn, vocals; Efraim Trujillo: Tenor and soprano saxophones; Konstantin Klashtorni: alto saxophone; Marlon Simon: drums, timbales and small percussion; Gerardo Rosales: congas, Afro-Venezuelan percussion, vocals, guiro and claves; Jose Luis Lopretti: piano; Leslie Lopez: baby bass; J.C. "Bulu" Viloria: lead vocals; Ilja Reijngoud: bass & tenor trombones (1); Edward Simon: piano (7).