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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars CamJazz: purveyors of some of the very best jazz piano trio music around today . . ., September 23, 2006
This review is from: Unicity (Audio CD)
. . . and this is among their very best. I've been following Edward Simon ever since he held down the piano chair in Bobby Watson's great 80's band, Horizon. Here's a guy who's honed his chops with some of the jazz greats: Greg Osby, Victor Lewis, Paquito D'Rivera, Bobby Hutcherson, Jerry Gonzalez, Terence Blanchard, Dave Binney, Adam Rogers, and lots of others.

One of the most lyrical and highly trained Latin jazz pianists to ever grace the jazz scene, he keeps moving from strength to strength. Of the five discs I have with him as leader (he has at least seven or eight), this is perhaps my favorite, although all of them are eminently worth acquiring.

Many things stand out on Unicity, foremost, perhaps, its striking balance between players (Simon, piano; John Patitucci, bass, electric bass; Brian Blade, drums). It's easy to see why the team of Patitucci and Blade has anchored Wayne Shorter's quartet for the past few years: they simply overflow with ideas, simpatico accompaniment, striking rhythmic conceptions, and brilliant coloration. But you know what? Simon is every bit their equal. He sets the tone for each track with precise intros and smart voicings, takes most of the solos, and plays each note with conviction. Steeped in classical, jazz, and Latin music, he combines the best of each in spectacular fashion. For one so extensively trained in classical piano literature, he has none of the stiffness or formality often associated with such players. Indeed, his solos dance and cavort with glee and élan, bursting with controlled energy and passion scarcely held in check.

Another great thing about this music is its astounding variety of forms, from post-boppish ("The Messenger," "In the Midst of Chaos"), to exotically oriental ("Eastern"), to modal ("Evolution"), to classical ("Prelude #9), to tenderly balladic ("Gevriasolas"), to Villa-Lobos-ish ("Abiding Unicity," the only strictly Latin-sounding piece on the disc).

Finally, this very sophisticated music, despite its structural complexity, advanced harmonic conception, and rhythmic intensity, never sounds less than ravishingly beautiful. There's not the slightest whiff of the academy here; rather, the listener is treated to passage after passage of heartbreakingly gorgeous music, filled with passion and pathos.

Almost too good to be true.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Conception, June 21, 2008
By 
Allan Suchinsky (Kensington, MD United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Unicity (Audio CD)
I am generally turned off by the expression "must have." However, I make an exception with respect to this extraordinary effort.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoy Unicity, May 6, 2007
By 
David J. Cigler "Dave Cigler" (Green Bay, Wi United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Unicity (Audio CD)
I'm 58 years old and have been a jazz fan since highschool. This is some of the best I've ever enjoyed. Smooooth!
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Unicity
Unicity by Edward Simon
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