press

Marlon Simon & The Nagual Spirits Awarded CMA Grant
Source: All About Jazz Publicity – July 14, 2006

Chamber Music America has selected Marlon Simon and his ensemble, The Nagual Spirits, as recipients of the “New Works: Creation and Presentation” grant–a competitive program in which the CMA commissions and presents new works in the jazz idiom, recognizing both established and emerging artists. Marlon Simon and The Nagual Spirits will present “The Nagual Suite,” with the support from Chamber Music America’s New Work: Creation and Presentation program, funded though the generosity of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Read full press release

Marlon Simon and The Nagual Spirits: The Music of Marlon Simon

Review by Evan C. Gutierrez for allmusic.com

After a number of years on New York’s short list of Latin jazz sidemen, Venezuelan drummer/percussionist Marlon Simon was long overdue for a solo project. His debut as a leader, with the Nagual Spirits, The Music of Marlon Simon features not only the innovative, creative musicianship of Marlon Simon, but that of his fellow “first call” Latin jazzers. The credits include renowned bandleader of the Fort Apache Band Jerry González on congas, tenor saxophonist John Stubblefield, trumpeter Brian Lynch, bass player John Benítez, and Simon’s brother Edward on piano. The majority of the players contributing their considerable talents are distinguished bandleaders in their own rights, and their pedigrees shine through. Simon does a fantastic job of presenting rhythms and ideas from every nook and cranny of the Afro-Latin tradition. Around every corner, there is a new style, and a new idiom, both rare and beautiful. The production is as uncommonly good as the performances. Marlon Simon and the Nagual Spirits display exquisite taste and maturity. While Music of Marlon Simon may be one of the most underrated releases of the decade, it could not come highly recommended enough.

Marlon Simon and The Nagual Spirits: Rumba a la Patato

Review by Scott Yanow for allmusic.com

For his second CD as a leader, Marlon Simon (who plays drums, percussion, and bata) has such fine sidemen as trumpeter Brian Lynch, Peter Brainin (on tenor), altoist Bobby Watson, Luis Perdomo or Edward Simon on piano, John Benítez or Andy González on bass, and Roberto Quintero on congas. Simon’s eight originals include tributes to Patato Valdés and Thelonious Monk. His younger brother Michael Simon (who plays trumpet on two songs) contributed one tune. Lynch and Watson sound quite comfortable with the Latin grooves, and the end results are very satisfying.

Marlon Simon and The Nagual Spirits: In Case You Missed It

Review by Michael P. Gladstone for allaboutjazz.com

In Case You Missed It is percussionist Marlon Simon's fourth album over the past ten years. His brother, trumpeter Michael, appears on two tunes while his better-known sibling, pianist Edward, is on all but one of the album's nine tracks.
 

Edward Simon has recorded extensively with altoist Bobby Watson's Horizon, as well as on a number of recordings including the highly praised Oceanos (Criss Cross, 2007), co-led with altoist David Binney. Marlon's group, The Nagual Spirits, varies in size from a quintet to twelve-piece. In addition to the Simon brothers, the ensembles feature a combination of Latin musicians and others including saxophonist Peter Brainin, trumpeter Alex Norris and bassists Michael Boone and Boris Kozlov.

The music is Latin jazz with an asterisk. On the opening "Overture, Marlon, with a full-sized ensemble, demonstrates that he is a traditionalist unafraid of mixing in new ideas, with constantly shifting tempos and shadings. On Bobby Watson's title tune, Marlon's percussive talents come to the fore. Brainin takes a gutsy, Hank Mobley-style solo on Hilton Ruiz's "Home...

Marlon Simon and The Nagual Spirits: Rumba a la Patato

CD Review by Raul Da Gama for latinjazznet.com

There are many reasons why it is a remarkable travesty of justice that the celebrated Venezuelan drummer and percussionist, Marlon Simon, has had to resort to working a day job to get by – even whilst living in a country such as the United States of America. This is despite his prodigious genius as a drummer and percussionist as well as a composer and pedagogue. Mr Simon is the eldest son of the polymath and philosopher Hadsy Simon and brother of pianist Edward Simon and trumpeter Michael Simon, both of whom can also be heard on this album...

Marlon Simon and The Nagual Spirits: In Case You Missed It

CD Review by Mark F. Turner for allaboutjazz.com

Many jazz fans are probably more familiar with pianist Edward Simon than his talented siblings Michael (trumpet) and Marlon (drums). But brother Marlon’s aptly titled In Case You Missed It might help to change that. The fact that Marlon Simon is an impressive percussionist and composer quickly surfaces with this fourth recording, leading his eclectic band, Nagual Spirits. In Case You Missed It is not so much a groundbreaking new thing in Latin jazz music as it is an intelligent execution of Simon’s skillful arrangements of the past and present. These ideas sound...

Marlon Simon and The Nagual Spirits: Rumba a la Patato

CD Review by Jim Santella for allaboutjazz.com

Bobby Watson and Brian Lynch stand out on this Latin jam session led by drummer Marlon Simon. It’s his second album, made up largely of the leader’s own compositions. Younger brother Edward Simon guests on three tracks, while youngest brother Michael guests on the two that he composed. Marlon Simon, who was born in Venezuela, successfully combines equal portions of Latin music with jazz music to form Latin jazz. The essential ingredients are the swing, the loose improvisation, and the rhythmic groove. While it's true that Latin music can be monotonous...