Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Simon, Michael

Simon, Michael, trumpeter, composer and arranger; b. Punta Cardon, Venezuela, 14 January 1975.

Michael`s exposure to music started at a very young age. His father, Hadsy Simon, a guitarist and singer (who started it all), and his brothers Edward (pianist) and Marlon (drummer) kept the music environment in the house and supported him throughout his studies. At the age of fourteen, Michael started taking trumpet lessons as well as musical theory and solfege lessons at a local music school in Valencia (Venezuela), and later started gaining on-stage experience playing with local (popular music) bands. Throughout this period, his brothers encouraged him to listen to Jazz, which drove him to a desire for new goals. And while on vacation in Curacao visiting his father, Michael had the opportunity to attend his first Jazz Festival where he ended up shocked after hearing the legendary Cuban group Irakere.

In 1991, Michael went to Cuba to study music at the Escuela de Superacion Profesional "Ignacio Cervantes", which he attended for two years. During his research in Cuba he had many private lessons with amaizing trumpetters like: Juan Munguia, Roberto Garcia, El Greco, Jose Alberto Varona, Alfredo Pichardo and others. Looking for a school with a jazz program, as he got more and more interest in jazz, Michael decided to spend some time with his father in Curacao, where he started working as a professional trumpeter with local jazz and Latin bands. It wasn`t until 1993, that he was auditioned by Jan Laurens Hartong and Eric Calmes (teachers at the Rotterdams Conservatory) and admitted him to study in the jazz department; when he moved to The Netherlands. In 1998 he obtained his degree of D.M. (bachelor) for trumpet and started another course on composing and arranging in the same school. Throughout this period, working as a professional trumpetter in The Netherlands, Michael had the opportunity to perform in the most important theaters, concert halls and festivals. In the summer of 1997 he made his first appearance at the North Sea Jazz Festival as a member of the Fra Fra Big Band and the following year with Gerardo Rosales`s Latin Jazz Ensemble, he has been a steady member of these groups since 1996 as well as of Fra Fra Sound.

His work experience includes performances with some of the top Latin and Jazz artists in the world such as Lester Bowie, Denise Jannah, Orlando Poleo, Alberto Naranjo, Ben Herman, Bobby Watson, Conexion Latina, Toumani Diabate, Andy Gonzalez, Edward Simon, Lukas van Merwijk and Cubop City Big Band, Ronald Snijders, Marlon Simon, Javier Plaza, Eddie Martinez and recently with David Murray. Throughout his concert tours, he has performed in Irland, Germany, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Austria, Finland and also in countries outside Europe such as USA, Jamaica, Hungary, Surinam, South Africa and 5 countrys in West Africa. Nowadays, Michael has been getting more and more into writing music, since he obtained his bachelur degree for composition and arranging and was assigned to write a composition for Fra Fra Sound in 1998, receiving a grant from the Fonds voor de Scheppende Toonkunst and also wrote all music for the theaterplay "Virus". He is active as a steady member of the bands: Fra Fra Sound, Fra Fra Big Band, Conexion Latina, Gerardo Rosales y su Trabucombo and Gerardo Rosales Latin Jazz Ensemble, and recently he has formed his own group "Roots United".

Bibi Provence: Make up your mind (1994); Javier Plaza: Mi Musica (1998); Fra Fra Sound: Mali Jazz (1998); Kaseco Revisited: Kotabra (1998); Fra Fra Big Band: Maspoti Makandra (1998); Gerardo Rosales: Senor Tambo (1998), El Venezolano (1999); Pablo Gimenez: Puente Viejo #1 (1999); Marlon Simon & The Nagual Spirits: Rumba a la Patato (2000); Gorge Martinez: La Formula Cubana (2000); Laberinto: Live (2000); Gerardo Rosales: La Salsa Es Mi Vida (2001); Fra Fra Sound: Kultiplex (2003); Fra Fra Big Band & David Murray: Expression Afritude (2003)

Contact information:
Michael Simon
Adriaan Kooningsstraat 60
3077 ML Rotterdam
The Netherlands
Tel: (+31) 10-4199686

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