His musical education began at the age of 3, his father, himself a musician, being the first teacher. The Central School of Music and Moscow Conservatory were the next steps. After the whole family emigrated and settled in New York in 1979, Nabatov continued his studies at the Juilliard School Of Music. By that time his interest and involvement in jazz and improvised music grew strong enough to make them his main activity.
Since then he performed and recorded with many fine musicians such as Paul Motian,Tony Scott, Sonny Fortune, Kenny Wheeler, Alan Skidmore, Herb Robertson, Louis Sclavis, Charles McPhearson, Billy Hart, David Murray, Paul Horn, Ricki Ford, Marty Ehrlich, Mark Dresser, Jim Snidero, Herb Geller, Dave Pike, Attila Zoller, Matthias Schubert, Barry Altschul, Vladimir Tarasov, John Betsch, Ed Schuller, Arto Tuncboyaci, Adam Nussbaum, Jay Clayton, Ron McClure, Mark Feldman, Drew Gress, Phil Minton, Michael Moore, Han Bennink, Misha Mengelberg, Wolter Wierbos and many others.
He enjoyed continuous work with Ray Anderson Quartet, Arthur Blythe Quartet, NDR Big Band (Hamburg,Germany), Steve Lacy - Simon Nabatov Duo, Perry Robinson Quartet, Nils Wogram Quartet, Nils Wogram - Simon Nabatov Duo, Matthias Schubert Quartet, Matthias Schubert - Simon Nabatov Duo, Klaus König Orchestra.
His own projects and activities include solo recitals, trio with the bassist Mark Helias and the drummer Tom Rainey (both based in New York), quartet "Nature Morte" with the British vocalist Phil Minton, multi reed-player Frank Gratkowski and trombonist Nils Wogram (both from Germany), quintet including his trio plus the violinist Mark Feldman and the trumpet player Herb Robertson ( both residing in New York).
The most recent addition to the list is the formed in 2003 trio Nabatov - Reijseger - Vatcher. The current edition of it includes the Dutch cellist Ernst Reijseger and the American drummer Michael Sarin.
As the co-leader Nabatov plays duos with Nils Wogram, Tom Rainey, Dutch cellist Ernst Reijseger, German tenor sax player Matthias Schubert , Dutch drummer Han Bennink and with the Dutch pianist Misha Mengelberg.
Simon Nabatov performed and recorded numerous pieces of chamber music, some of them written specially for him: "Piano Concerto "Baba" by the American pianist/composer Kenny Werner, "Sonata for violin and piano" by the Irish bassist/composer Ronan Guilfoyle,"Trumpet Sonata", "Cello Sonata", "Trio for flute,cello and piano" by the Swiss reed-player/composer Daniel Schnyder. He also performed and recorded some of the more known "crossover" works, such as "Rhapsody in Blue" by George Gershwin (NDR Symphony Orchestra Hannover,1998) or "Concerto for Jazz Ensemble and Orchestra" by Rolf Liebermann (NDR Symphony Orchestra and Big Band, Hamburg,1996).