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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Edward Simon: Venezuelan Suite

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Venezuelan Suite is pianist Edward Simon's love letter to his homeland, but that's not all it is; it's the perfect confluence of Venezuelan ideals, jazz language and chamber-esque sophistication. In short, it's a masterpiece. While every country has its musical adherents in American jazz circles, some are sorely underrepresented. That's why it's so vitally important when somebody like saxophonist Miguel Zenon comes along and bridges the gap between jazz and the music of Puerto Rico, or when pianist Danilo Perez finds and/or creates a nexus linking jazz to the music of Panama. These men are, in some ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Edward Simon Trio: Live in New York at Jazz Standard

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Some artists maintain a busy release schedule, putting out an album a year--sometimes, in the case of musicians like guitarist Bill Frisell, even more frequently--while others, for a variety of reasons, are less prolific. Pianist Edward Simon has, in recent years, been issuing albums with broader distribution under his own name--which automatically discounts 2010's independently released but undeniably fine Danny Boy--about once every three years on labels ranging from The Netherlands' Criss Cross to Italy's Cam Jazz. Live in New York at Jazz Standard is the third in a consecutive string of recordings to feature his seven year-old trio with ...

TAKE FIVE WITH...

Take Five With Edward Simon

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Meet Edward Simon: The process by which Simon became an internationally regarded jazz musician began in the small coastal town of Cardon, Venezuela, where he grew up surrounded by the sounds of Latin and Caribbean music. Born in 1969, Simon credits his father, Hadsy, for developing his passion for music and supporting him and his two brothers, Marlon and Michael, to become professional musicians. Upon arriving on the New York jazz scene in 1989, his reputation as a pensive, rhythmically astute, versatile player caught the ear of noted musicians Greg Osby, Jerry Gonzalez, Bobby Hutcherson, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Edward Simon: Poesia

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With a winning combination, it's rarely a good idea to mess with it. Pianist Edward Simon has recorded with a number of great trios, including the one at the core of Simplicitas (Criss Cross, 2005). His music took a giant leap forward, however--in terms of composition, arrangement and performance--with Unicity (Cam Jazz, 2006), featuring bassist John Patitucci and drummer Brian Blade. The greater freedom, latitude and time that Cam allows its artists is surely another factor, as opposed to Criss Cross' one-day, six-hour sessions (which still, remarkably, manage to result in consistently fine releases). Patitucci and Blade return on Poesia, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

David Binney / Edward Simon: Oceanos

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Saxophinist David Binney and pianist Edward Simon have been playing and recording together a long time. The wonderful, accessible, and deep Océanos reflects their close musical relationship. The duo consider this release to be a continuation of Afinidad (Red Records, 2001) in that the music displays the range of musical styles that each brings to the table. Binney contributes four of the eight tracks and they manage to all be immediately recognizable as his work while also showing the influence of Simon, who adds three tunes. For his part, the Venezuelan pianist mixes his Latin roots with ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

David Binney / Edward Simon: Oceanos

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Alto saxophonist David Binney has had a very active year. The well-received Cities and Desire (Criss Cross, 2006) was an intense and autobiographical album. Oceanos, co-led by pianist Edward Simon, offers a diverting and more satisfactory package.

Simon and Binney go back a long way and have recorded together on various projects over the years. In addition, Simon has received much recognition for his long-standing role as composer/pianist for Bobby Watson's Horizon ensemble. What is especially attractive about this project is the variety of shading and moods provided. A core group of Binney, Simon, bassist Scott Colley and ...

INTERVIEWS

Edward Simon: La Música Bilingüe (Bilingual Music)

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Pianist Edward Simon was born in Punta Cardón, Venezuela. His entire family was composed of musicians, and as a young man, Simon's evident talent led his father to send him to study in the U.S., where he won scholarships in classical piano at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia and in jazz at the Manhattan School of Music, where he studied with Harold Danko. While a student in his teens, Simon performed with Philly guitarist Kevin Eubanks and saxophonist Greg Osby.

Simon moved to New York City in 1989 and began adding a who's who ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

David Binney / Edward Simon: Oceanos

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Alto saxophonist David Binney and pianist Edward Simon first met in 1989 when Simon played on Binney's debut record, Point Game (Owl, 1989). They have since collaborated five times. Oceanos is their sixth recording together, which Binney sees as the continuation of Afinidad (Red, 2001).

Binney and Simon are men of ideas which they fathom with skill, yet they are studies in contrast. Binney is an intense player who digs deep into the context of the tune and fills it with a swelling ripeness. Simon has a calmer edge washed in an incipient beauty. Together they complement each other perfectly. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

David Binney & Edward Simon: Oceanos

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Recorded in 2004 and released in 2007, this studio set provides another musical viewpoint set forth by the collaborations (2001's Afinadad, on Red Records) of pianist Edward Simon and saxophonist David Binney. With lithe supported from bassist Scott Colley and drummer Brian Blade, the music iterated here parallels the album title. Think of a soothing coastal breeze during a sunset, where the bustling ocean undercurrents provide a lucid framework for the mind's eye.

Vocalist Luciana Souza's over-the-top vocalise serves as an additional instrumental voice amid these mood-evoking vistas spiced with Latin rhythms and multilayered horns. Binney's climactically-driven sax ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

David Binney / Edward Simon: Oceanos

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Reconvening the same core quartet as on Afinidad (Red, 2001), altoist David Binney and pianist Edward Simon demonstrate how a collaborative effort can bear the distinct imprint of each musician while, at the same time, possessing its own indelible stamp.

Binney and Simon have emerged, over the past decade, as leaders in an evolving musical context informed by broader cultural concerns, often complex harmonic and rhythmic foundations, and a fresh thematic approach that's eminently lyrical yet steadfastly avoids the obvious. Both are fine soloists, able to combine a sense of the cerebral with deeper emotional resonance. Teamed with bassist Scott ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

David Binney / Edward Simon: Oceanos

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Oceanos is the re-convergence of two dynamic musicians/composers: saxophonist David Binney and pianist Edward Simon. Both have many individual releases and recent works have earned glowing and deserved praise including Binney's Cities and Desires (Criss Cross, 2006) and Simon's Unicity (Cam Jazz, 2006). The recording is a continuation of fertile and fruitful ideas last heard on their joint release Afinidad (Red Records, 2002), and five years later the results show a greater collaboration of creativity. Enlisting jazz heavies Brian Blade (drums), Scott Colley (bass) and Adam Rogers (guitar) also helps to elevate the music of the stylistically ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Edward Simon: Unicity

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Pianist Edward Simon's seventh CD as a leader is his best effort to date. On display are his gifts as an improviser, composer and arranger with two sympathetic partners--bassist John Patitucci and drummer Brian Blade. The entire CD has the feeling of a suite, rather than separate unrelated tracks that just happened to be recorded during the same session, even though the leader did not compose everything himself. The Venezuela-born pianist's light touch works in his favor as he restrains himself from excessive notes when just a few will suffice; likewise, his band mates are of the same mindset.

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Edward Simon: Unicity

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Artistic evolution is an interesting phenomenon. Emerging musicians, filled with the brashness of youth, are often more focused on chops, energy and complexity. But as many mature they evolve into players more concerned with space and profound simplicity. Edward Simon is a strong case in point: the pianist's earlier albums are filled with detailed compositions and an almost pathological approach to blending his South American roots with the sophisticated language of modern jazz.

Recently he's been paring down his approach, and Unicity represents his most compositionally stripped-down effort to date. But it's the very brevity of the charts here that ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Edward Simon: Unicity

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Edward Simon, John Patitucci and Brian Blade did a few magical things on a 2003 album under Patitucci's name (Songs, Stories and Spirituals, Concord). At the time these three musicians decided that they ought to get together and do, well, what they do well here. After a minute's “Invocation," they're jamming heartily on Patitucci's “The Messenger," as if they'd met up overjoyed at three in the morning and were so accomplished they could do everything unbridled without disturbing a neighbour.

Simon's “Abiding Unicity" has an almost concert-room theme statement from Patitucci on bowed bass, and amazing impressionistic playing from the ...



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