Oriental Gates

Nicolas Simion Quartet
Oriental Gates

TUTU CD 888212


Nicolas Simion ts, ss, b-cl
Mircea Tiberian
Ed Schuller b
Victor Jones dr



Bartók Goes New Orleans / An Evening In Thessaloniki / Dear Arnold / Bird Talk / Afro-Transdanubian Groove / Slovakian Folk Song / Blues Connotation



Six compositions - six hot colts, six sixshooters! Nicolas Simion’s first live session for Tutu Records was recorded in Vienna - an exciting melange: Ornette Coleman reflected in Balkan rhythms, Bartok and Arnold Schonberg.

In the meantime, Simion belongs to the upper echelons of musicians and calls the tune like an old master on his horns - the tenor and soprano saxophone as also the bass clarinett - and chooses his sidemen accordingly: the rhythm section comprising Ed Schuller on bass and Victor Jones on drums is of the finest, that the ‚New World’ can send across to ‘Old Europe’. They come across the Atlantic from the jazz metropolis of New York, laden with the Afro-American jazz tradition; not only do they cling to this, but they also absorb the oriental, walk over bridges that the band leader builds in an almost miraculous fashion - with no breaks, full of passion, meticulous, as if they had never meant to do anything else.

Nicolas Simion’s compositions and arrangements bear his own unmistakeable signature, make the listener expectant, curious about the improvisations of the soloists - how will the thematic melodies be worked through, made rhythmically compact and then dissolved again? This quartet succeeds consistently in performing long arcs, keeping solo passages thrilling - bows that are often stretched beyond capacity on live recording sessions - - individually as well as collectively interlocked. Also the man on the black and white keys, Mircea Tiberian, Nicolas’ comrade-in-arms and compatriot from the days behind the iron curtain, Mircea Tiberian, a musician graced by fortune, gives evidence as all the others in the band - post modern jazz doesn’t necessarily have to be an escape into an innocuous mainstream cud-chewing.

Nicolas Simion stands for scintillating jazz, which doesn’t necessarily have to come out of New York or Chicago, but can also flourish in the not so traversible Carpathian mountains.