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Piano (Visiting Faculty Artist)
While he may be considered as part of a new generation of “multilingual” musicians who have grown up studying classical, jazz and Latin-American music, Edward Simon is inventing a language that transcends any rigid genre. He was born in the coastal town of Cardón, Venezuela where he grew up in a musical family surrounded by the sounds and rhythms of Latin and Caribbean music. After graduating from the Philadelphia Performing Arts School, at fifteen, Edward received a music scholarship from the University of the Arts where he undertook his studies in classical music under the tutelage of concert pianist Susan Starr. Later he transferred to the Manhattan School of Music where he studied jazz piano with Harold Danko.
Upon arriving on the New York jazz scene in 1989, his reputation as a pensive, rhythmically astute, versatile player caught the ear of noted musicians Greg Osby, Jerry Gonzalez, Bobby Hutcherson, Herbie Mann, Kevin Eubanks and Paquito D’Rivera, all of who would later employ him. In 1989 Simon took the piano chair in Bobby Watson’s influential group Horizon (1989-94), later moving to the Terence Blanchard Group (1994-2002).
Simon made his first recording as a leader in 1994 (Beauty Within, Audioquest), giving birth to the Edward Simon Trio–- the same year he took third place in the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition. Since then he has founded, established and served as musical director of several jazz ensembles such as: the Edward Simon Quartet, Ensemble Venezuela and Afinidad. Today, the Edward Simon Trio has become an established voice with five recordings and recent performances at such well-known jazz venues as the Village Vanguard, Jazz Bakery and Casa del Jazz. Simon has recorded 10 critically acclaimed albums as leader, including two New York Times Top Ten Jazz Records of the Year: Edward Simon (1995) and Simplicitas (2005). He has appeared as guest artist on more than 50 recordings, including Paquito D’Rivera’s Grammy Award winning Funk Tango (Best Latin Jazz Album, 2007) and several Grammy Award nominated albums. His performing career spans 20 years of international touring as pianist with prominent artists and ensembles. His recent collaborations include Don Byron, Miguel Zenon, Luciana Souza, Paquito D’Rivera and John Patitucci.
This year Simon was named Guggenheim Fellow by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. He is currently a member of the SF Jazz Collective, a prominent musician/composer jazz ensemble dedicated to creating new work and highlighting the music of historically significant jazz composers of the modern era. The Collective is comprised of “eight of the most in-demand” (New York Times) artists performing today.
02 Impossible Question (Excerpt) performed with Dave Binney