Sorrows and Triumphs
with Afinidad and Imani Winds
Throughout his notable career, Venezuelan-born pianist and composer Edward Simon, a long time resident of the United States, has moved with ease across musical genres, from classical music and jazz to Latin American folklore and popular repertoire and back.
Perhaps an expression of his personal experience as an integrated outsider, in Simon’s playing and writing, fusion has a grounded, lived-in feel. In fact, unless the particular project calls for it — such as his Venezuelan Suite (2014) or the Latin American Songbook (2016)— Simon has not seemed especially interested in underlining the particular sources of this or that work. It’s all of one piece, he seems to suggest, even if made sometimes of disparate parts.
As for his broad goals as a musician, Simon has stated that he aims to “balance the structural clarity of classical music with the moment-to-moment interaction of jazz.”
Smartly conceived and beautifully played, Sorrows and Triumphs suggests a wide-angle snapshot of his interests, sources, and approach. It also underscores the challenges, and perhaps the limits, of chamber jazz.