Born: September 26, 1959 Primary Instrument: Piano
Mark Simon couples jazz experience with a myriad of jazz influences to create a style of playing and writing that offers a mature outlook while pushing his work out to the edge.
Simon, a Chicago-born Cub fan, has been playing jazz for over 30 years, starting somewhat inauspiciously by playing along with old Jazz At The Philharmonic records from his father’s massive and eclectic record collection, which ran the gamut from early jazz master Louis Armstrong to avant-garde Cecil Taylor. By 13, Mark was listening to Lester Young, Charlie Parker, Roy Eldridge and other jazz legends while his school chums were gearing up to Led Zeppelin....
“Local piano virtuoso Mark Simon sent me his debut CD Portland Nights and it’s a superior effort. Mark composed and arranged all eight songs and utilized the talents of popular sidemen well-known to this area. Although each song is superb, my favorites are Hometown Blues, Sunday Rain and Portland Nights.” - Bonnie Carter - Positively Entertainment
Mark is an eloquent and energetic player and composer in the bebop tradition. His years with Leroy Vinnegar certainly are evident and have left their mark with a strong rhythmic approach to the trio sound - Gordon Lee - pianist, composer and recording artist
“I’ve heard Mark Simon from time to time over the years, and I am struck by how he’s grown into such a poised and mature musician.” - Dave Frishberg, Grammy award-winning Pianist and Composer
“I am amazed at Mark’s concept of writing, it’s really his best kept secret and his playing ability has grown by leaps. His improvisation reminds me of Horace Silver and Cedar Walton. There is no question about it, Mark has got that thing! He just doesn’t sound like anyone else and his writing is going to be a major force in the future.” - Mel Brown, Consummate Drummer; (Diana Ross, Richie Cole, etc.)