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, 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 Gonzalez on congas, tenor saxophonist John Stubblefield, trumpeter Brian Lynch, bass player John Benitez, 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.
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AllMusic Review by Evan C. Gutierrez