|A prominent figure on the Latin American cultural scene, Marlon Simon has brought Latin Jazz to numerous stages in the U.S.A. Canada, Europe, South America and Australia through his impeccable work ethic and drive. He is also a distinguished educator whose hundreds of workshops and seminars are presented on a yearly basis to students of all levels from the lowest income public schools in the states of Pennsylvania and New Jersey to the most prestigious colleges such as Haverford and Urines is the USA, The conservatories of music in Melbourne Australia and La Paz Bolivia making this an important aspect of his career since it began in 1975. A native of Venezuela, were he grew up surrounded by Afrocaribbean rhythms, Marlon came to the USA in 1987 with a strong desire to study Jazz music. He obtained his Bachelor’s degree from the New School for Social Research in 1991 and started performing locally in New York and Philadelphia developing a unique style as a percussionists later on coveted by the most prestigious musicians in the field such as Hilton Ruiz, Jesus Chucho Valdez, Mc Coy Tiner , John Blake, Jerry Gonzalez, Dave Valentin, Charles Fambrough, Paquito de Rivera, Bobby Watson and crossing over to Aretha Franklin and Pete Cetera. As a side name his name appears on numerous projects but it was in 1994 when he took the decision of founding his own band The Nagual Spirits were he finally has the opportunity to explore other types of rhythms and approaches to Latin Jazz. As a leader of Nagual he has produced four internationally acclaimed projects featuring a remarkable scope of original compositions. Marlon projects have been reviewed in Latin jazz books, newspapers and publications in the USA, France, Canada, Poland, Australia, Holland, Venezuela, Netherlands Antilles, Puerto Rico and Bolivia among others. |
Grants and awards: 2008 recipient of the New Jersey council for the arts fellowship award 2007- Recipient of the Chamber music America grant: creation and presentation of New Work. Grant funded by the Doris Duke Foundation. 2007- Recipient of the American Music Institute artist assistance grant. 2005- Marlon Simon and the nagual spirits were selected by the US fund for the international artist and the department of state to present international concerts representing the integrity and excellence of the musical art forms born in the USA in this case Latin Jazz. 2005- Recipient of the artist in residence grant from Auvergne Musiques Danses to conduct workshops, seminars and creation of Latin Jazz repertoire for the Black Chantilly band, France. 2004- Recipient of the Philadelphia music project grant to perform and conduct as musical director for the annual Musicopia fund raising event featuring Paquito De Rivera and Giovany Hidalgo as special guest.
2003-Named distinguished artist in education by the New Jersey Council in recognition of a history of commitment of excellence in the Arts and Education and for reciving the higest regards of your Arts and education Peers. 2003- Author of Analyzing Latin Rhythms. A guide for the Latin percussionist. Published by the Latin American Musicians Association supported by the Doris Duke Foundation, the Pew Foundation and PNC bank.
2002-Recipient of the New Jersey governor’s award in arts and education for his contribution to the music education in the public schools system.
1990- Recipient of the Meet the composer grant to conduct research in Cuba on the influence of Afrocaribbean rhythms in American Jazz music.
1987- Recipient of the Philadelphia music foundation grant for outstanding talent and contribution to music.
In the educational field Marlon Simon has develop an international reputation as a specialist in Afrocaribbean rhythms applied to jazz compositions. His experience includes:
University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Faculty member since 2001. Courses thought: Afro Caribbean Rhythms in folkloric setting. Latin Jazz ensembles.
Perkins Center for the Arts, Moorestown, NJ faculty member since 2000. Courses taught: application of Latin rhythms to the drum set.
Roster Artist for Musicopia, Philadelphia since 2002. Created curriculum for Latin Rhythms workshops, assemblies and residencies averaging one hundred workshops a year in Philadelphia and New Jersey public schools.
Roster artist for Young Audiences of New Jersey since 2001. Courses taught: A complete day seminar: Introduction to Africaribbean rhythms for music teachers. 2006. Afrocaribbean rhythms presentation at the National music teachers association conference in Newark NJ. 2000.
Serving as a panelist to review artist’s applications for the Pennsylvania and New Jersey council for the Art’s Directory of artist in education. 2004,05,06,07.
Other workshops and seminars on Afro Caribbean rhythms and Latin Jazz presented in the USA includes:
Haverford College of PA. Temple University, Philadelphia. Penn State University. PA Ursinus College The Episcopal academey. PA. Taller Puertorriqueno, Philadelphia. Latin American Musicians association.Philadelphia