Edward Simon and Ensemble Venezuela with Special Guests Maria Alejandra Rodriguez and Jackeline Rago

Bay Area-based pianist and composer Edward Simon, a Guggenheim Fellow, leads Ensemble Venezuela in creating and showcasing underrepresented Venezuelan music. Together they blend the color-rich lyricism and rhythmically buoyant sounds of Simon’s Venezuelan roots with the harmonically sophisticated, modern manner of jazz. Simon is joined by drummer Adam Cruz, flutist Marco Granados, John Ellis on reeds, bassist Roberto Koch, special guest singer-songwriter Maria Alejandra Rodriguez, and instrumentalist Jackeline Rago.

Rodriguez and Rago are both Venezuela-based artists, each with their own approach to Venezuelan folk music. Rodriguez fuses traditional Venezuelan folk with modern sounds of contemporary jazz and other popular genres. Rago, well known to Bay Area audiences, is both a performer and educator of traditional Venezuelan folk.