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Edward Simon: La Bikina

Even the staunchest Latin jazz fan can grow tired of the same musicians playing the same music. Venezuelan-born Edward Simon joins the genre’s younger generation of virtuosos, bearing gifts from his Latin background, as well as from his classical training in the U.S. Simon covers much territory in over an hour of music. Milton Cardona opens La Bikina with an Afro-Cuban prayer, which Simon then harmonizes in a lush setting. A bop sensibility abounds, but so do does a wide open sound reminiscent of Pat Metheny’s arrangements. Simon includes an enchanting arrangement of the Moises Simons standard, “El Manicero,” with a traditional montuno and dissonant chords along with his own compositions. Although his presence on the Latin jazz scene is relatively new, Edward Simon was already veteran of top jazz and Latin artist’s bands, such as Bobby Watson and Paquito D’Rivera while still a teenager. It shows here, as La Bikini reveals much musical maturity for a still-young player.

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