Modern Drummer Magazine Review
“On Different Paths”

Upon listening to Marlon Simon’s new record, an apt description escaped me, so I must rely on Marlon’s own description, “Roots music, Latin American Rhythms, European Classical music, and the Latin Jazz tradition are reimagined as a blend that suggests Latin Chamber Jazz.” The drum and percussion world should be much more aware of Marlon Simon, he is a master drummer, percussionist, and composer. And all of these components have never been on better display than on the record On Different Paths. Bassist Boris Koslov and pianist Edward Simon round out the rhythm section and guide us through eleven deeply emotional compositions. The Venezuelan drummer leaves more space than his contemporaries, but his sense of space is impeccable. Review

Drummer, percussionist and composer Marlon Simon has traveled myriad different paths over the course of his nearly four-decade career. There is the personal journey that has led him from a small town in his native Venezuela to pursuing jazz in Philadelphia, New York, and now his current home in Katy, Texas, a small city near Houston.
Then there are the parallel musical paths in which he’s excelled – playing straight-ahead swing with pianist Hilton Ruiz, traditional Afro-Cuban rhythms with the Fort Apache Band and Chucho Valdes, Latin jazz grooves with Dave Valentin, and progressive jazz propulsion with Bobby Watson.
With On Different Paths, his seventh and most ambitious album to date, Simon merges those disparate trajectories into a single new pathway that stretches far off into a hybrid future. READ FULL REVIEW

Marlon Simon and The Nagual Spirits Return with the Ambitious New album “On Different Paths” Blending a Myriad of Cultural and Musical Traditions. Available January 26, 2024 via Truth Revolution Records, “On Different Paths” Features Pianist Edward Simon, Trumpeters Michael Simon and Alex Norris, Saxophonist Peter Brainin, Bassist Boris Kozlov and Percussionist Roberto Quintero. 

Marlon Simon Awarded 2022 Guggenheim Fellowship 

Educator, Percussionist, Composer Marlon Simon has been awarded a 2022 Guggenheim Fellowship in the field of Music Composition. Guggenheim Fellowships are intended for mid-career individuals who have demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts and exhibit great promise for their future endeavours. Fellowships are awarded through an annual competition open to citizens and permanent residents of the United States and Canada. Candidates must apply to the Guggenheim Foundation in order to be considered. The Foundation receives approximately 3,000 applications each year. No one who applies is guaranteed success in the competition and there is no prescreening; all applications are reviewed. Approximately 175 Fellowships are awarded each year. 

Announcing the 2022 Guggenheim Fellows 

180 scientists, writers, scholars, and artists honored across 51 fields 

(New York, NY) On April 7, 2022, the Board of Trustees of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation approved the awarding of Guggenheim Fellowships to a diverse group of 180 exceptional individuals. Chosen from a rigorous application and peer review process out of almost 2500 applicants, these successful applicants were appointed on the basis of prior achievement and exceptional promise.

“Now that the past two years are hopefully behind all of us, it is a special joy to celebrate the Guggenheim Foundation’s new class of Fellows,” said Edward Hirsch, President of the Guggenheim Foundation and 1985 Fellow in Poetry. “This year marks the Foundation’s 97th annual Fellowship competition. Our long experience tells us what an impact these annual grants will have to change people’s lives. The work supported by the Foundation will aid in our collective effort to better understand the new world we’re in, where we’ve come from, and where we’re going. It is an honor for the Foundation to help the Fellows carry out their visionary work.” 

In all, 51 scholarly disciplines and artistic fields, 81 different academic institutions, 31 states and the District of Columbia, and four Canadian provinces are represented in this year’s class of Fellows, who range in age from 33 to 75. Close to 60 Fellows have no full-time college or university affiliation. Many Fellows’ projects directly respond to issues like climate change, pandemics, Russia, feminism, identity, and racism. See the full Press Release here.

Marlon Simon & The Nagual Spirits Awarded CMA Grant
Source: All About Jazz Publicity – July 14, 2006

Chamber Music America has selected Marlon Simon and his ensemble, The Nagual Spirits, as recipients of the “New Works: Creation and Presentation” grant–a competitive program in which the CMA commissions and presents new works in the jazz idiom, recognizing both established and emerging artists. Marlon Simon and The Nagual Spirits will present “The Nagual Suite,” with the support from Chamber Music America’s New Work: Creation and Presentation program, funded though the generosity of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Read full press release

Marlon Simon and The Nagual Spirits: The Music of Marlon Simon

Review by Evan C. Gutierrez for

After a number of years on New York’s short list of Latin jazz sidemen, Venezuelan drummer/percussionist Marlon Simon was long overdue for a solo project. His debut as a leader, with the Nagual Spirits, The Music of Marlon Simon features not only the innovative, creative musicianship of Marlon Simon, but that of his fellow “first call” Latin jazzers. The credits include renowned bandleader of the Fort Apache Band Jerry González on congas, tenor saxophonist John Stubblefield, trumpeter Brian Lynch, bass player John Benítez, and Simon’s brother Edward on piano. The majority of the players contributing their considerable talents are distinguished bandleaders in their own rights, and their pedigrees shine through. Simon does a fantastic job of presenting rhythms and ideas from every nook and cranny of the Afro-Latin tradition. Around every corner, there is a new style, and a new idiom, both rare and beautiful. The production is as uncommonly good as the performances. Marlon Simon and the Nagual Spirits display exquisite taste and maturity. While Music of Marlon Simon may be one of the most underrated releases of the decade, it could not come highly recommended enough.

Marlon Simon and The Nagual Spirits: Rumba a la Patato

Review by Scott Yanow for

For his second CD as a leader, Marlon Simon (who plays drums, percussion, and bata) has such fine sidemen as trumpeter Brian Lynch, Peter Brainin (on tenor), altoist Bobby Watson, Luis Perdomo or Edward Simon on piano, John Benítez or Andy González on bass, and Roberto Quintero on congas. Simon’s eight originals include tributes to Patato Valdés and Thelonious Monk. His younger brother Michael Simon (who plays trumpet on two songs) contributed one tune. Lynch and Watson sound quite comfortable with the Latin grooves, and the end results are very satisfying.