BACK TO THE ROOTS
“Getting this fusion to work means developing motifs and rhythmic patterns from the basic melody and at the same time keeping the mood of the song ….all about getting the right interplay between the musicians” Nicolas Simion writes. Most of these pieces were developed spontaneously right there in the studio - a very intense experience.
Vienna was a “melting pot” for precious and rare metal when New York was still a town. So it’s not an accident - this is where Mexican-American bass player Glen Fisher and New Yorker drummer Peter Perfido met Nicolas Simion, who arrived at this junction of old and new, at the confluence of the Balkan world and European culture, carrying a couple of precious volumes - the works of Béla Bartok. Latin-American rhythms on contrabass were the right prerequisite for Glen’s getting to grips with Nic’s complex metric patterns, his astonishing harmonies, which challenge, sometimes set aside, a major or minor scales’ system of music But it’s the soul feel that he gives his strings - the sting and bite - that moves the listener to sense how appropriate it is - con alma - as Glen calls it. Peter Perfido’s versatility and sensitive drumming picks up the music like a hi-fi mike - and drives it along! His fine, subtle wrist-work creates delicate designs like petit point embroidery, whilst the strong dynamo of the basic beat keeps the metric framework right out front. Transylvanian Dance, described by critics and friends as “a hit” recurs on this album, whilst in another notable ethnic fusion piece entitled Ancient Rituals, Nicolas makes the tenor sax sound like an alphorn, a bucium, used in days of yore to signal news of ceremonies from village to village.
This is the fourth album that I have made with Nicolas Simion; it shows Nicolas’ great talent as a tenor saxophone player, even more because Nicolas has more space here, just playing with a rhythm section and without a second horn; he surpasses himself, warming up to acquire a form that the European jazz scene expects of him from the time he started playing with the Mal Waldron Quartet.