Born: May 20 Primary Instrument: Composer/conductor
Randy Simon was born and raised in Los Angeles. Although he had piano lessons for a year as a child, and took classical piano lessons for a period while in graduate school, music took a back seat for many years as he built up a successful career as a physicist. I did not come back to the piano until about 12 years ago when I inherited the grand piano that I grew up with. I had it shipped to the East Coast, completely restored, and I started taking jazz piano lessons. After several years of study with jazz pianist Adrian Cohen, it occurred to me that I was a much more creative writer than I was a pianist. The lessons I took morphed into composition lessons and after a year, I had a handful of tunes that I had written. His teacher suggested that he record the songs with some top local musicians, and that was the beginning of the Randy Simon Jazz Project.
Since that time, Simon has released four albums (Suspended Motion, Awakening, Light It Up and now Nyhavn Live) that feature his colorful compositions interpreted by world-class musicians based in Upstate New York. Each project has been more complex and adventurous than the one before. Every time I complete one of these projects, it makes me want to up the ante for the next one.
The latest CD, Nyhavn Live, is an exciting program of modern jazz, filled with fresh original melodies, lively solos, and enthusiastic playing.
Awakening, the third recording of Simon's compositions, not only features outstanding performances by the cream of New York's Capital Region jazz scene, but also well-written, memorable tunes that make this album an exciting listening experience.
Randy Simon's Jazz Project is a rousing success. Hopefully, there will be more of Simon in years to come. Alexander M. Stern, All About Jazz
Tracks: Road Trip, Breakout, Bebop Hop, Suspended Motion, Guacamole, Winter Evening, If I Told You
Personnel: Lee Russo: tenor saxophone, Adrian Cohen: piano, Mike DelPrete: bass, Danny Whelchel: drums
Tracks: Awakening, Cinco-Pation, Spring Forward, Reach For It, Yellowstone, Empty Nest, On A Lark, Cleanup, Woodland
Personnel: Kevin Barcomb: tenor and soprano saxophone, Pete Bellino: trumpet and flugelhorn, George Muscatello: guitar, Adrian Cohen: piano, Mike DelPrete: bass, Danny Whelchel: drums
Light It Up
Tracks: You Shouldn't Do That, Light It Up, Taking Wing, Getting Warmer, Counterflow, Switchbacks, Leafing Out, Let Me Tell You, Keep Walking, Saratoga (Through the Years)
Personnel: Kevin Barcomb: tenor and soprano saxophone, flute, Pete Bellino: trumpet and flugelhorn, Paul Borrello, vibes, Adrian Cohen: piano, John Menegon: bass, Danny Whelchel: drums
Tracks: Cultural Exchange, Gold Standard, Glide, Climber, Season to Taste, Questions, Another Interlude, Foothills, Nyhavn, Soaring, Keep Walking
Personnel: Kevin Barcomb: tenor and soprano saxophone, Dylan Canterbury: trumpet and flugelhorn, Rob Lindquist: piano, John Menegon: bass, Danny Whelchel: drums
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