Born: July 27, 1969 Primary Instrument: Piano
The process by which Simon became an internationally regarded jazz musician began in the small coastal town of Cardón, 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
He attended the Philadelphia Performing Arts School, graduating at 15, then received a music scholarship from the University of the Arts where he studied classical music with concert pianist Susan Starr. Later he transferred to the Manhattan School of Music where he studied jazz piano with Harold Danko.
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,
Simon made his first recording as a leader in 1994 (Beauty Within, Audioquest), giving birth to the Edward Simon Trio—the same year he took third place in the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition. Since then he has founded, established and served as musical director of several jazz ensembles such as: the Edward Simon Quartet, Ensemble Venezuela and Afinidad. Today, the Edward Simon Trio has become an established voice with five recordings and recent performances at such well-known jazz venues as the Village Vanguard, Jazz Bakery and Casa del Jazz.
Fueled by a strong desire to break boundaries through improvised music, in 2000 Simon co-founded the quartet Afinidad with saxophonist/composer
At the same time, Simon has become increasingly interested in the folk music of his native land. In 2003 he founded Ensemble Venezuela, an outlet for exploring the marriage between jazz and Venezuelan music through new works and arrangements of works by Venezuelan masters. Two years later he was awarded a second grant from Chamber Music America to compose and perform the Venezuelan Suite, a work that crosses the barriers between jazz, chamber music and Venezuelan folk music. Considered by some to be his most important work to date, the Venezuelan Suite inspired the creation of a series of abstract paintings by artist Ellen Priest: “Jazz Paintings on Paper: Improvisations on the Venezuela Suite.”
Simon has received Fellowships in Music Composition from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (2005), the State of Florida (2007) and the New York Foundation for the Arts (2008).
He has served as faculty at the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, the City College of New York and the University of the Arts. He has taught master classes and clinics at music conservatories and universities around the world and continues to teach piano and improvisation at the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music. He has been honored on two different occasions (1999, 2004) for this work with a Certificate of Appreciation for Outstanding Service to Jazz Education from the International Association for Jazz Education. In 2008 Simon had the rare opportunity to share his knowledge and experience with fellow Venezuelans. Thanks to a grant from the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board and The U.S. Department of State, he was a visiting professor at the Instituto Universitario de Estudios Musicales in Caracas, Venezuela.
Simon has recorded 10 critically acclaimed albums as leader, including two New York Times Top Ten Jazz Records of the Year: Edward Simon (1995) and Simplicitas (2005). He has appeared as guest artist on more than 50 recordings, including Paquito D'Rivera's Grammy Award winning Funk Tango (Best Latin Jazz Album, 2007) and several Grammy Award nominated albums.
His performing career spans 20 years of international touring as pianist with prominent artists and ensembles. His recent collaborations include Don Byron, Miguel Zenon, Luciana Souza, Paquito D’Rivera and John Patitucci.
He is currently Jazz Artist in Residence at Western Michigan University and a member of the San Francisco Jazz Collective, a prominent musician/composer jazz ensemble dedicated to creating new work and highlighting the music of historically significant jazz composers of the modern era. The Collective is comprised of “eight of the most in-demand” (New York Times) artists performing today.
- John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, Guggenheim Fellowship (2010)
- Chamber Music America, New Works: Creation and Presentation (2008)
- New York Foundation for the Arts: Fellowship in Music Composition (2008)
- J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board & US Department of State, Fulbright Senior Specialist Program Grant (2008)
- State of Florida Music Composition Fellowship (2007)
- Best Latin Jazz Album Grammy Award nominee: Viva (CAM Jazz) (2007)
- US Artists International (2006)
- Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Fellowship in Jazz Composition (2005)
- Chamber Music America, New Works: Creation and Presentation (2004)
- International Association of Jazz Educators, Certificate of Appreciation for Outstanding Service to Jazz Education (2004)
- International Association of Jazz Educators, Certificate of Appreciation for Outstanding Service to Jazz Education (1999)
- Seven Arts Magazine, Rising Star Award (1997)
- Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition, 3rd prize (1994)
- University of the Arts School of Music, Alumni Achievement Award (1993)
He doesn't go in for dazzle and fleet-fingered runs but contents himself with digging in and mining the music for drama and invention. He often turns these rural sounds into deep emotional statements. —Jazz Journal International
Simon is an important presence on the jazz and world music scene. —Los Angeles Times
Oceanos (Criss Cross Jazz, 2007)
Personnel: Edward Simon: piano; David Binney: alto sax; Brian Blade: drums; Pernell Saturnino: percussion; Scott Colley: bass; Adam Rogers: guitars; Luiciana Souza: vocals.
Unicity(CAM Jazz, 2006)
Personnel: Edward Simon: piano; John Patitucci: bass; Brian Blade: drums.
Simplicitas(Criss Cross Jazz, 2005)
Personnel: Edward Simon: piano; Adam Cruz: drums, steel drum; Avishai Cohen: bass; Pernell Saturnino: percussion; Luciana Souza: vocals; Adam Rogers: guitars.
Fiestas de Agosto(Red Records, 2004)
Personnel: Edward Simon: piano; David Binney: alto sax; Donny McCaslin: woodwinds.
The Process(Criss Cross Jazz, 2003)
Personnel: Edward Simon: piano; John Patitucci: bass; Eric Harland: drums.
Afinidad(Red Records, 2001)
Personnel: Edward Simon: piano; Brian Blade: drums; Adam Cruz: steel drum; Scott Colley: bass; Lucia Pulido: vocals; Adam Rogers: guitars.
La Bikina(Mythology Records, 1998)
Personnel:Edward Simon: piano; David Binney: alto sax; Adam Cruz: durms; Ben Street: bass; Mark Turner: tenor sax; Pernell Saturnino: percussion; Milton Cardona: percussion, vocals; Diego Urcola: trumpet.
Edward Simon(Kokopelli Records, 1995)
Personnel: Edward Simon: piano; Adam Cruz: drums; Mark Turner: tenor sax; Larry Grenadier: bass; Cafe De Silva: percussion; Milton Cardona: percussion.
Beauty Within(Audioquest, 1994)
Personnel: Edward Simon: piano; Anthony Jackson: electric bass; Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez: drums; Diego Urcola: trumpet.
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Orange City, FL
Willing to teach:
Advanced students only.
Pianist Edward Simon is an experienced educator who has conducted numerous clinics, master classes and workshops around the world, including the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada (2008); the Sibelius Academy, Helsinki (2006); NOCA, New Orleans, LA (2006); Temple University, Philadelphia, PA; East Stroudsburg University, PA; the Music Conservatory at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, MI; City College of New York; EAFIT Universidad Abierta, Medellín, Colombia, WMF Jazz Summer School and Arts Festival, Certaldo, Italy (2008|2009) and the Cork Music Academy, Cork, Ireland (2010). In 2009 Simon was a guest lecturer at New York University, discussing the compositional process of his “Venezuelan Suite”. In 2008 Simon was visiting professor at IUDEM, Caracas, Venezuela, as part of the Fulbright Senior Specialist Program. He has worked as adjunct faculty at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA (1996-2001) and currently teaches students from the New School for Jazz & Contemporary Music in New York. Simon has twice received a Certificate of Appreciation for Outstanding Service to Jazz Education (International Association of Jazz Educators, 1999 & 2004). In 2007, he was guest resident artist at Ursinus College and guest lecturer at Rutgers University. This year he was resident artist with the Simón Bolivar Big Band in Caracas, Venezuela and at Langnau Jazz Nights Festival, Langnau, Switzerland. Currently, Simon is Visiting Jazz Artist at Western Michigan University. In an ensemble setting, Edward shows students how to develop a group sound and the necessary listening skills to play in a more interactive way. He teaches students how to correctly interpret and incorporate Latin American rhythms and styles into a jazz setting. Utilizing improvisation as a basis, Simon shows students how the compositional process can be instrumental in finding your voice as a player. Simon has received numerous awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship (2010) and a MacDowell Fellowship (2011). He is currently a member of the SFJAZZ Collective, a prominent musician/composer jazz ensemble dedicated to creating new work and highlighting the music of historically significant jazz composers of the modern era. The Collective is comprised of “eight of the most in-demand” (New York Times) artists performing today. Edward Simon teaches privately. Hourly rate: $150
Conducted clinics on jazz piano, improvisation and composition at music schools and universities including: University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada; The Sibelius Academy, Helsinki, Finland; Conservatorio de Música de San Sebastián, San Sebastian, Spain; Temple University, Philadelphia, PA; East Stroudsburg University -Jazz Masters Series, East Stroudsburg, PA; Music Conservatory at University of Missouri, Kansas City, MI; City College of New York, New York, NY; EAFIT Universidad Abierta, Medellín, Colombia. Lecture/presentations on the compositional process of theVenezuelan Suite: New York University, New York, NY (2/26/09); Ursinus College, Collegeville, PA (2007); Stetson University, DeLand, FL (2006).