5 Songs, 37 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Unless you happen to be a native, Venezuelan music isn’t particularly well known outside the country. Venezuelan-born and Florida-based pianist Edward Simon tries to change that here with a four-part suite. Each movement is named after a different city and incorporates a local folk-song form. “Barinas” uses a popular style called joropo; “Caracas” celebrates merengue; “Merida” is a Venezuelan waltz; “Maracaibo” is based on gaita, which is traditionally played during Christmastime. The one non-suite piece, “El Diablo Suelto” (The Devil on the Loose) is a joropo classic first published in 1888. Along with a conventional jazz sound of a drum set, bass, piano, and horns (with notables Mark Turner on tenor sax and John Ellis on bass clarinet), Simon includes traditional percussion as well as cuarto (a small four-stringed guitar) and harp (played by Edmar Castenada). The sound is earthier than typically brassy Latin jazz. The band nonetheless cooks at times, particularly on “El Diablo Suelto.” This is certainly out of the ordinary, both in approach and technical execution.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Unless you happen to be a native, Venezuelan music isn’t particularly well known outside the country. Venezuelan-born and Florida-based pianist Edward Simon tries to change that here with a four-part suite. Each movement is named after a different city and incorporates a local folk-song form. “Barinas” uses a popular style called joropo; “Caracas” celebrates merengue; “Merida” is a Venezuelan waltz; “Maracaibo” is based on gaita, which is traditionally played during Christmastime. The one non-suite piece, “El Diablo Suelto” (The Devil on the Loose) is a joropo classic first published in 1888. Along with a conventional jazz sound of a drum set, bass, piano, and horns (with notables Mark Turner on tenor sax and John Ellis on bass clarinet), Simon includes traditional percussion as well as cuarto (a small four-stringed guitar) and harp (played by Edmar Castenada). The sound is earthier than typically brassy Latin jazz. The band nonetheless cooks at times, particularly on “El Diablo Suelto.” This is certainly out of the ordinary, both in approach and technical execution.

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