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Venezuelan Suite

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iTunes Review

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.

Customer Reviews


Totally not what I expected. That's a good thing right? I enjoyed the waltz the most. Buy this if you want something refreshing.


Born: July 27, 1969 in Punta Cardon, Venezuela

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Creative jazz pianist, composer, and bandleader Edward Simon was born in Punta, Cardón, Venezuela in 1969, first traveling to the United States in 1981 at 12 years of age and attending the Performing Arts School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After graduating at age 15, he studied classical piano and music performance under a scholarship at Philadelphia’s University of the Arts, then moved on to the Manhattan School of Music, where he studied jazz piano and music performance. By 1988 he was performing...
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