Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians
Simon, Edward, pianist; b. Punta CardUn, Venezuela, 27 July 1969. His mother is Daisy Morillo Garcia, born 7/30/1942, and his father is Hadsy Simon, a singer/guitarist, born 3/12/1935. His siblings are Marlon Simon, a drummer/percussionist, Michael Simon, a trumpetr, and Heidy Simon, a vocalist (not professional).
He grew up in the coastal town of CardUn, Venezuela, in a musical family. He came to the United States in 1984 to study classical music. By the time he was in his late teens, he was traveling the world as a sideman to prominent jazz and Latin musicians.
The musical seeds in the Simon Family were planted by his father, Hadsy Simon, who sang and played guitar. When Edward was eight years old, his father brought home some percussion instruments and an electric organ. Older brother Marlon was drawn to the timbales; Edward gravitated to the organ, while Michael, still a baby, beat on anything in his sight. Hadsy, who sang and played guitar, would invite his friends to their home on weekends so the family had an audience to perform for. Initially, Simon s taste was limited to electronic instruments and Latin American dance music. His appreciation for jazz did not develop until he heard a concert on videotape of Chick Corea with Dizzy Gillespie and Stan Getz performing at the White House. Simon exhibited such talent in a family band that his father decided to send him to school in the United States, where he later won music scholarships. He was a student of concert pianist Susan Starr and Benjamin Witten at the Uni versity of the Arts in Philadelphia where he did his undergraduate studies in Jazz and Classical Performance. Later, he attended the Manhattan School of Music, where he studied jazz piano with Harold Danko. He began discovering the music of the jazz giants and was influenced greatly by Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock, Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell and Miles Davis.
While he explored classical piano, he was gigging regularly. In 1988, Simon arrived on the jazz scene performing in a trio led by bassist Charles Fambrough. An established musician in Philadelphia by age 18, Simon soon began to meet New York jazz musicians, such as saxophonist Greg Osby (1988-1990), Bobby Wason and guitarist Kevin Eubanks. He toured with Watson s Horizon band for five years (1989-1994) while juggling dates with established Latin jazz players, Jerry Gonzales, Herbie Mann, Manny Oquendo, Libre and Paquito D'Rivera (1992-1994). From 1990-1992, he toured and recorded with Charlie Sepulveda. He has also performed with Bobby Hutcherson, Milt Jackson, Mongo Santamaria, Oscar DiLeon, Paquito DiRivera & The Havana/New York Ensemble), The United Nation Orchestra, Frank Sinatra, Gerry Gonzalez (& Fort Apache), Michael Brecker, WDR Jazz Orchestra, Ivan Linns, Don Byron, Cassandra Wilson, Dave Holland, and Branford Marsalis In 1994, prolific composer and bandleader Terence Blanchard hired Simon to fill his piano chair. It was Simon's Latin background and passion for world music that his new leader most admired in him. Simon has recently toured with John Patitucci and Paquito D'Rivera. Since 2002, he's done private piano studies with Sophia Rososf and Fred Hersh. From 1986-2001, he was an Adjunct Faculty member at the University of the Arts. He was the Latin Jazz Ensemble Coach and member of piano faculty. He prepared repertoire, composed and arranged music for end of semester recitals. He also taught and prepared piano students for curriculum requirements. In February 1999, he taught a seminar in Seville, Spain. He conducted classes in piano and rhythm section playing and also led student ensembles. In April 1999, at Temple University, he conducted a lecture/demonstration on jazz and Latin jazz piano and on the function of the piano within jazz and Latin idioms. Since 1999, he's taught Master classes throughout the U.S. including universities and high schools in NY, CT, MA, IL, FL, CA, MO, and other states.
His spouse is Maria Simon (b. 4/6/67) and his son is Goren Simon (b. 12/21/99).
Beauty Within (1994); Edward Smon (1995); La Bikina (1998); The Process (2003)
David Binney & Edward Simon: Afinidad (2001)
As sideperson (in alphabetical order):
Carl Allen: The Pursuer (1994); Dave Binney: Point Game (1990). Free to Dream; Terence Blanchard: Romantic Defiance (1995), The Heart Speaks (1996), Wondering Moon (2000), Let's Get Lost (2001); Freddie Bryant: Brazilian Rosewood (1998); Fima Ephron: Soul Machine (2001); Kevin Eubanks: The Searcher (1989), The Promise of Tomorrow (1990); Charles Fambrough: Keeper of The Spirit (1995); Oscar Feldman: El Angel (1999); John Gordon: Currents (1998); Craig Handy: Split Second Timing (1992); Conrad Herwig: The Latin Side of John Coltrane (1996); Herbie Mann: Caminho de Casa (1990); Victor Lewis: Family Portrait (1992), Know it Today, Know it Tomorrow (1993); Greg Osby: Mind Games (1988), Season of Renewal (1989), Man-Talk (1990); John Patitucci: Communion (2001), Songs, Stories and Spirituals (2003); Claudio Roditi: Two of Swords (1991); Adam Rogers: Art of the Invisible (2002); Charlie Sepulveda: Algo Nuestro (1993); Mark Shim: Turbulent Flow (2000); Marlon Simon: The Music of Marlon Simon and The Nagual Spirits (1998), Rumba a la Patato (2000); Terell Stafford: Time to Let Go (1995); Juan Pablo Torres: Trombone Man (1995); Mark Turner: Mark Turner (1997); Diego Urcola: Diego Urcola (1999); Bobby Watson & Horizon: The Inventor (1990), Live at Lugano Estival Jazz Gottardo (1991), Post Motown Bop (1991), Present Tense (1992); Soundtracks: The Promise Land (1994), Original Orchestral Score from the Motion Picture Clockers (1995), The Score for Eve's Bayou (1997)
Compositions and commissions:
Sandra 1989; Slippin' & Slidin'1991; Hey Now 1992' Mastery of all Situations 1993; Rare Days 1993; Beauty Within 1994; In Search of Power 1994; Reprise 1994; Homecoming 1994; The Calling 1994; Reprise 2 1994; Teen's Romance 1995; Magic Between Us 1995; Colega 1995; Stop Looking To Find (It Finds You) 1995; Uncertainty 1998; The Process 1998; The Cha Cha 1998; Simplicity 2001; Reflecting 2001; Pere 2001; All compositions published by Punta CardUn Music; "Rumba Neurotica," Copyright, BMI , was commissioned by The Relage Ensemble as part of the Latin American Composers Project. The work was developed during a series of public workshops at Taller Puertorrique, Philadelphia, PA.
Music by Terence Blanchard: Crooklyn (directed by Spike Lee, 1994), The Promise Land (directed by Anthony Geffen, 1995); Clockers (directed by Spike Lee, 1995); Soul of the Game (directed by Kevin Sullivan, 1996); Get on the Bus (directed by Spike Lee, 1996); Till There Was You (directed by Scott Winant, 1997); Four Little Girls (directed by Spike Lee, 1997), Eve's Bayou (directed by Kasi Lemmons, 1997), Summer of Sam (directed by Spike Lee, 1999), Love and Basketball (directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood, 2000), Bamboozled (directed by Spike Lee, 2000); Bojangles (directed by Joe Sargent, 2001), Original Sin (directed by Michael Cristofer, 2001); Collaborated with film composer Terence Blanchard in the scoring to: It's A Girl Thing (directed by Lee Rose, 2001)
1999 - IAJE Certificate of Appreciation for Outstanding Service to Jazz Education
1997 - Rising Star Award from Seven Arts Magazine, Philadelphia, PA
1995 - New York Timesi Top Ten jazz recordings of the year
1994 - EMI Award for iBeauty Withini(first solo release)
1994 - Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition finalist
1993 - The University of the Arts School of Music Alumni Achievement Award
New York Times' Top Ten Jazz Recordings of the year 1995.
Voted "Jazz Album of the Year" in the Downbeat 2000 poll.
Grammy nominated: Best Latin Jazz Performance, 1996.
Grammy nominated: Best Jazz Composition.