Edward Simon / Edward Simon Trio


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Poesia Review

by Michael G. Nastos

When one looks at and then hears the growing discography of pianist Edward Simon, you have to marvel at his consistently high level of brilliant musicianship. He's one of the better melodic inventors in modern jazz, whose ideas flow like a river, onward and upward. Simon's recordings in the piano-bass-drums format have been as good as any in recent years, and on Poesia he takes into account the beauty of things either unseen or rarely noticed. As art and poetry are major direct or implied components in jazz, Simon has chosen to take a larger notice of them in this beautifully rendered original music, telepathically assisted by the peerless team of electric and acoustic bassist John Patitucci with drummer Brian Blade, a pair he has played with prior. The music clearly has a rhapsodic quality, a broad usage of color profiles, and a direct lineage to predecessors like Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett, and his peer David Kikoski. There's but one cover, "Giant Steps," that does not sound at all like the John Coltrane classic, but instead is completely deconstructed, reassembled, torn down, and again built from the ground up in a thought-provoking, command performance by this trio. Into the modal end of things, Simon starts "Triumph" as a dancing, exotic motif that is constantly shifting and musically evolving, while a 6/8 time signature underscores its heavy frame. "Intention" has the same type of foundation in 7/8, but is churning and much darker, unlike most of the pianists other work. Tumbling phrases seemingly from all 88 keys identify the streaming, rushing format of the title track, "One for J.P." is sheer delight in its funk and quirk with Patitucci's electric bass guitar as a chatty sidebar, while the more evocative pieces are the gentle, snowfall inferences and ballet figurines of "Winter," or Simon's two-part, solemn, humble, intimate, solo piano musings on "My Love for You" which bookend the CD. It would be easy to say that Edward Simon is mellowing with age, but perhaps it is that looking inward is more appealing than outwardly trying to please the masses. That's a good thing, especially considering he can do just about anything he chooses with his awe-inspiring talent to make an acoustic piano sing.

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