Chamber Music America has selected Marlon Simon and his ensemble, The Nagual Spirits, as recipients of the New Works: Creation and Presentation" grant--a competitive program in which the CMA commissions and presents new works in the jazz idiom, recognizing both established and emerging artists.
Marlon Simon and The Nagual Spirits will present The Nagual Suite," with the support from Chamber Music America's New Work: Creation and Presentation program, funded though the generosity of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.
Marlon Simon is a Venezuelan-born percussionist who immigrated to the U.S. in 1987, bringing with him a fine feel for Latin jazz and a gift for composition. Born in the small town of Cardon, Venezuela, Simon began performing in concerts and clubs by the age of 18. Formal studies on drums at The University of The Arts (Philadelphia) and a BA in Jazz and Contemporary Music from the New School (New York) put some insight behind his passion and many years as a sideman to luminaries as Hilton Ruiz, Dave Valentin, Jerry Gonzalez, Chucho Valdes, Bobby Watson, McCoy Tyner, and Aretha Franklin, gave him the experience and confidence he needed to go out on his own. Now an internationally known Latin jazz percussionist, composer and educator, Marlon Simon's distinctive style has taken him around the globe. In 1994 The Nagual Spirits were formed who continue to exemplify the integrity and excellence of Simon's work. As a testament to their unique voice, in 2003 Marlon Simon and the Nagual Spirits were selected to present two international concerts representing the excellence of artistry developed in the US, sponsored by The Fund for the US Artist and the State Department. Marlon has since taken the Nagual music message to places like Poland, France, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands Antilles, and Bolivia among others.
Parallel to his career as a performer, Simon is recognized as an educator and a specialist in Afro-Caribbean rhythms. The New Jersey State Council of the Arts recently honored him for his commitment to excellence in Arts and Education, and also for receiving the highest regard from his Arts and Education peers. Simon has conducted workshops, master classes and seminars at Temple University, Penn State University, Rutgers University, the New Jersey ABC conference for public school teachers, The University of the Arts, Haverford College and abroad.
Marlon Simon has released three recordings: The Music of Marlon Simon for K-Jazz Records (1999), Rumba a la Patato for Cubop/Ubiquity Recordings (2000) and his latest CD Live in Bolivia for Intrigue Records (2004).