While a sideman with the inimitable Terence Blanchard, pianist/composer Edward Simon released a series of recorded ensemble works, including La Bikina and Afinidad, which impressed upon his listeners his sense of swing, melodic structure, and harmonic balance. Later, with drummer Eric Harland and bassist John Patitucci, Simon released The Process, followed by Simplicitas in 2004 with bassist Avishai Cohen and drummer Adam Cruz. These trio recordings were critically acclaimed and led Simon to continue his legacy as a bandleader in the classic trio format. With his third recorded trio work, Unicity, Simon now offers his audience an impeccable selection of ten songs accompanied by drummer Brian Blade and bassist Patitucci. As his best recording to date, Unicity brilliantly captures Simon's gold-standard abilities with Afro-Hispanic rhythms, instruments, and classical and jazz forms. The haunting theme "Abiding Unicity," which he has dedicated to Egberto Gismonti, surrenders Gismonti's remarkable influence on the pianist with elaborate, romantic beauty. Simon's delicate classicism is brilliantly underlined by the subdued basslines of Patitucci and creative percussive expressions of Blade. This song is absolutely beautiful. "Prelude No. 9" -- a stunning composition written by Federico Mompou -- has been given a new 4/4 time signature and a solo section based on the composition where the award-winning Simon truly shines. Patitucci takes the lead on "Pathless Path," with a memorable electric bass intro that eventually evolves into a priceless solo by Simon. The interplay of this trio is beyond expectations. The remaining songs are just as extraordinary. Simply put, the entire recording is amazing. Each song is performed to perfection and it's no wonder that this particular trio is being compared to the powerful expressions of such spectacular jazz trios as Peterson, Brown, and Thigpen; Jamal, Crosby, and Fournier; and Evans, LaFaro, and Motian. A must-have for any jazz trio devotee.
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AllMusic Review by Paula Edelstein