“New York Encounter” displays a broad swatch of Michael Simon’s musical abilities, bringing together all the influences of his community connections. The different pieces of this puzzle are most apparent in Michael’s compositions, which reflect a broad artistic viewpoint. Michael weaves together various musical elements including Afro-Cuban and Afro-Venezuelan styles, odd time signatures and free improvisation, as well as straight-ahead swing and extended improvisations. The seamless integration of these pieces reflect a mature musical mind with a wealth of experience.The inclusion of Michael’s brothers – pianist Edward and drummer Marlon – creates a comfortable environment that resonates with endless possibilities. There’s a sympathetic interaction in the group’s performance that only arises from a lifetime’s worth of shared musical experiences.
The addition of some of New York’s best musicians inject the recording with an authentic jazz edge and an inspired sound. Bassist Andy Gonzalez and Kozlov, saxophonists Zenón and Brainin, as well as percussionist Quintero all represent a piece of New York’s long connection to Latin Jazz, a direction that bursts through the album with resounding clarity. The potent brew resulting from Michael’s connection to these various communities flows through “New York Encounter” with a unified strength, giving us an idea of the powerful contribution that Michael’s music can give back to Latin Jazz communities around the world.
– by CHIP from The Latin Jazz Corner.