RALPH SIMON: Music for the Millennium

Catalog# 7710152

UPC# 782737101525

Ralph Simon-Soprano sax, Paul Bley-piano/synths, Gary Peacock-bass, Julian Priester-trombone, Bruce Ditmas-drums/synth, Alan Pasqua-piano, Jeff Berman-vibraphone, Tom Beyer-percussion, Elizabeth Panzer-harp, Michael DiSibio-trumpet

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About Ralph Simon

For Ralph Simon, saxophonist, composer, and cofounder of Postcards, Inc., the 1994 release of Ralph Simon: AS, his second recording as a leader, was meaningful for several reasons. “On a musical level,” he says, “the group’s spirit and inspiration are incredibly strong and the music sounds as fresh as it did when we recorded it. I also thought it was important to allow people to hear our world debut performance and recording of Annette Peacock’s very beautiful ‘Skin on Skin’.

Born in New York City, Simon studied music at The Johns Hopkins University and at the Peabody Conservatory. His teachers included Joe Napoleon, Lee Konitz, and Sam Rivers. “Playing with such great musicians as Paul Bley, John Scofield, Billy Hart, Karl Berger, Gunter Hampel, Sunny Murray, Mario Pavone, Jeanne Lee, Gene Adler and Chip White in the 70’s,” notes Simon, “was particularly inspiring and stimulating for me.”

It was legendary pianist Paul Bley who inspired Simon to begin composing. He later played piano on Time Being, Simon’s 1981 debut album (Gramavision), which Jazz Hot hailed as “a harmonious musical success which one doesn’t tire of listening to”. Simon also credits his experience with Bley while he was founding the IAI label with sparking his own interest in creating a jazz label — which he did in 1993 with Postcards, Inc.

The early 1980’s found Simon playing saxophone in Europe. After his return to New York, he focused on developing his compositional side. “I began to hear music for larger ensembles than the usual jazz quartet or quintet,” he explains. “I had begun to develop my own applications of modern orchestration and counterpoint.” His efforts and creativity were rewarded in 1991 with a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts.