Venezuelan-born pianist and composer Edward Simon is an artist of great singularity steeped in many musical traditions. He grew up in a musical family playing Latin American music and was classically trained in the US since age 12; both streams inform his primary métier, jazz improvisation. Simon has recorded 15 critically acclaimed albums as leader or co-leader, including two New York Times Top Ten jazz records of the year: Edward Simon (1995) and Simplicitas (2005). His recording Unicity was voted “Best CD of 2007” by Downbeat. His illustrious career includes collaborations such prominent jazz artists as Kevin Eubanks, Terence Blanchard, Bobby Watson, Herbie Mann, Bobby Hutcherson and Latin legends Manny Oquendo and Israel “Cachao” Lopez. 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 other Grammy-nominated albums.
Simon is a 2014 Chamber Music America New Jazz Works grantee and a Doris Duke Impact Award nominee. He has received grants from Chamber Music America (2005, 2008), National Performance Network (2007), US Artists International (2006), commissions from Meet the Composer (1995) and SFJAZZ (2012, 2011, 2010), and fellowships from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (2005), State of Florida (2007), New York Foundation for the Arts (2008) and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation (2010). In 2010 he joined the SFJAZZ Collective, an all-star jazz ensemble comprising eight of the finest performer/composers at work in jazz today, dedicated to creating new work and highlighting the music of historically significant jazz composers of the modern era. The following year he became a McDowell Fellow and completed a five-week residency at the prestigious McDowell Colony. He is currently on faculty at the California Jazz Conservatory, Western Michigan University, and Artist in Residence at the Brubeck Institute.
Currently, Simon maintains three working bands, his all-star trio featuring John Patitucci and Brian Blade, Ensemble Venezuela and Afinidad. His recent release, Venezuelan Suite, featuring his Ensemble Venezuela, has received remarkable critical acclaim and was selected among Best Latin Releases of 2014 by The New York City Jazz Record. His latest release, Latin American Songbook, has won an NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Jazz Album.