Rumba a la Patato

Marlon Simon and the Nagual Spirits
Rumba a la Patato

1. Rumba A La Patato
2. Songo Pa Monk
3. Humble And Innocent
4. Ericka
5. Something For Carol
6. Easy Mood
7. Sandra Malandra
8. Belleza India
9. Clear To Take Off
Marlon Simon- drum set, batas, timbales, percussion;
Edward Simon, Luis Perdomo- piano;
John Benitez, Andy Gonzalez- bass;
Bobby Watson- alto saxophone, soprano saxophone;
Peter Brainin- tenor saxophone;
Brian Lynch, Michael Simon- trumpet;
Roberto Quintero- congas, bongo, guiro.
"Pure pleasure best describes Venezuelan percussionist Marlon Simon' and the nagual spirits Rumba a la Patato cd. Nagual is the part of us for which there is not a description, no words, no names. This music reaches out to the" nagual" within each listener and touches the soul. The numbers are alive with emotions from the Joyful Songo Pa Monk to the sweet Ericka to the haunting Belleza India. The percussion on this recording moves as Simon himself and Roberto Quintero propel the songs forward. The pair are extraordinarie, and the numbers positively swing." Linette Tobin. Clave Magazine.
Venezuela-born percussionist/composer Marlon Simon is a veteran sideman with Jerry Gonzalez, Chucho Valdés, and Hilton Ruiz. Rumba a la Patato features bassists John Benitez and Fort Apache's Andy Gonzalez and pianists Ed Simon (Marlon's younger brother) and Luis Perdomo, highlighting the leader's skills as a composer of stateside jazz laced with Afro-Cuban rhythms. Simon's compositional style centers on singable melodies that overlay complex rhythmic signatures, which make for nice solo showcases. Alto saxophonist (and ex-member of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers) Bobby Watson delivers his Birdlike soprano and alto sax lines on the moving midtempo piece, "Ericka," and the Thelonious Monk tribute, "Songo pa Monk." The title track, a riveting rumba with a 6/8 introduction, is written for the pioneering conguero Carlos "Patato" Valdes and is brightened by trumpeter (and Eddie Palmieri bandmate) Brian Lynch's clave-blooded solo. On "Sandra Malandra," Simon melds mainstream jazz with Cuban rhythm, and on "Something for Carol," the Trinidadian calypso and Dominican merengue are brought together under Simon's sexy groove flag. As this recording shows, Marlon Simon knows how put together Latin jazz for the head, hips, and heart. --Eugene Holley Jr.
RUMBA A LA PATATO is an exceptional first effort by Marlon Simon and the Nagual Spirits. Marlon Simon is following in the footsteps of great (Latin) Jazz bands like Jerry Gonzalez's Fort Apache Band and Ray Barretto's New World Spirit. The project is dedicated to the legendary Patato Valdes.
"Marlon Simon feels that the flow of creativity stems from the suffering pain, and violence we are inundated with on a daily basis. It is up to the artists to consolidate all of these negative happenings and convert them into positive ones." So states Peter La Barabara in the liner notes. Marlon Simon's music definitely has a spiritual feeling that is undeniable.
Marlon and crew serve up a variety of rhythms: Rumba, Songo, Mozambique, Calypso and even a little Merengue!
My favorite tracks thus far are RUMBA A LA PATATO, SONGO PA MONK and HUMBLE AND INNOCENT. The compositions are complex, rhythmic and full of masterful improvisations by the band members. Marlon Simon maintains a low profile on percussion but makes his presence felt throughout.

By     Thomas Pena

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