Criss Cross Jazz
Edward Simon's Simplicitas has primary sources in Latin jazz, but it breaks free of rigid categorization. The Venezuelan-born Simon logged crucial time with the bands of Bobby Watson and Terence Blanchard, leaving him with a firm grounding in contemporary postbop improvising, which is clearly discernable on the trio pieces that make up the bulk of the album, including "Not So Unique" and two distinct takes of the Harry Warren standard "You're My Everything." Simon's cohesive interaction with bassist Avishai Cohen and drummer Adam Cruz on each is a thing of collective beauty.
With "Fiestas," Latin and world-music flavors surface in the guise of additional percussion, including steel drums, and guitar and vocals; there's also a wordless contribution by Luciana Souza on "Unknown Path." It's all a bracing, if brief, diversion until "South Facing," a lengthy ballad by the original trio, reestablishes the album's introductory mood. Extensive cross-cultural exploration will no doubt be an integral aspect of Simon's future recordings.