Primary Instrument: Saxophone
John David Simon has performed extensively on the national and international jazz scene with Ella Fitzgerald, Chaka Khan, Clark Terry, Buddy DeFranco, Ray Charles, Dizzy Gillespie, J.J. Johnson, Shirley Scott, The New Jersey Pops Orchestra, T.S. Monk and Charles Earland. John’s big band credits include The Lionel Hampton, Illinois Jacquet, Artie Shaw, Jimmy Dorsey and Cotton Club Orchestras. He has toured Japan, Europe, Scandinavia, Canada and the United States performing at major festivals including the Playboy, Monterey, Montreal, North Sea, JVC, Pori, Grande Parade du Jazz (Nice, France), and Newport jazz festivals. Some of the venues John has played include Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Radio City Music Hall, The Kennedy Center, Brooklyn Academy of Music, The Village Vanguard, The Blue Note, The Hollwood Bowl and Ravinia. Currently Simon appears on over ten CD albums, including as a leader, Legacy: The John Simon Trio Featuring Don Patterson, his critically acclaimed debut CD on Muse Records and his second and latest CD, John David Simon And Friends With Clark Terry & Etta Jones on WarmGroove Records. As a sideman, Simon can be heard on The Joe Sudler Swing Machine & Clark Terry on TJA Records, Born to Swing with Buddy DeFranco on Satellite Records and The Ponderer with the Odean Pope Saxophone Choir on Soul Note Records. John also appears in the documentary film Texas Tenor: the Illinois Jacquet Story, shown on the Bravo TV network. In 1999, Simon entered into the prestigious Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz, by Leonard Feather and Ira Gitler, as one of 3300 biographies spanning the entire history of jazz. A recipient of two NEA Jazz Performance Fellowships and a Master of Music Degree from Manhattan School of Music, John has taught jazz performance, ensemble and musicianship at many conservatories and schools. Simon currently resides in New York City where he works as a free-lance saxophonist, woodwind doubler and bandleader, and is a faculty member of The Ridgewood Conservatory and Henry Street Settlement Abrons Arts Center.
Awards:National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Study Fellowship/ National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Performance Fellowship/ Manhattan School of Music Performance Scholarship/ University of the Arts Performance Scholarship
“ [on] ‘Rain Check’...the band really hit its stride as John Simon fired up a big- toned, booting solo on tenor sax.” -Ira Gitler, JazzTimes
“...his full warm sound combined with soulful expression make him a very individual voice on his instrument...He can surely compete with the stars of this new streamlined generation of jazz musicians like Joshua Redman.” -Ulrich Vanek, Jazz Podium (Germany)
“... full-bodied sound and hard-bop leanings...shows command of his instrument...” -Al Hunter Jr., Philadelphia Daily News
John David Simon’s “And Friends” .... a recording that will likely be played well into the future as good music never goes out of style. -KUVO, 89 FM Jazz Radio (Denver, CO)
“...his big, breathy tone and muscular drive recall Gene Ammons and Dexter Gordon.” -David Leonard, Philadelphia Weekly
“...and tenor saxophonist John Simon were the freshest and most masterful talents to be heard...” -Tony Gleske, The Hollywood Reporter (Playboy Jazz Festival)
“...a steaming debut for Simon...exhibits plenty of technique and a funky feeling...” -Owen Cordle, JazzTimes
....a fluid and fluent player deep in Mainstream, owing allegiance not to one special player but to a way of playing: a large-toned, emotive approach to the tenor saxophone... he sounds like a world-class player, compatible with this impressive rhythm section. -Michael Steinman, Cadence Magazine
“...it is worth the wait...Simon shines on such hard-bop tunes...” -Kirby Kean, Philadelphia Weekly
New York, NY
Willing to teach:
Intermediate to advanced students
M.M., Manhattan School of Music; B.M. cum laude, University of the Arts. Faculty member of The Ridgewood Conservatory and Henry Street Settlement.