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John Simon Trio: John Simon Trio

As a teenager in Philadelphia, Simon often sat in with organist “Papa” John DeFrancesco. Later, when he was in the house band at Gert’s Lounge, he worked with organist Don Patterson, who along with drummer Greg McDonald, appears on this 1986 date. It’s unclear whether this is a new issue or a re-release, but either way, it’s a steaming debut for Simon.

The trio opens with an uptempo version of “It’s You Or No One.” (An equally blazing alternate take appears at the end of the album.) Lee Morgan’s “Ceora,” Horace Silver’s “Strollin’,” and an original each by Simon and Patterson complete the well-rounded tune list.

Simon exhibits plenty of technique and a funky feeling akin to Houston Person and Red Holloway. Patterson, who died in 1988 from kidney failure, was a master of bass lines. (Bill Milkowski’s liner notes tell us that he doubled the foot pedal lines with keyboard lines in the left hand.) Simon, we’re told, now lives in New York, where he has worked with Illinois Jacquet, Panama Francis, Clark Terry, and the Artie Shaw band, among others.

Originally Published