The son of a musician, Michael Simon grew up around music in Venezuela, his native country. “My brothers Marlon and Edward started before me, experimenting with different instruments and leaving behind the ones that didn’t appeal to them. After Marlon left a trumpet in the closet, I started playing it, taking lessons from age ten.” Michael gained early experience playing salsa, merengue and bolero with local bands. Inspired by the music of the iconic group Irakere, Michael studied music at the Ignacio Cervantes Music School in Cuba. Meanwhile his brothers encouraged him to listen to Jazz, and in 1993 he moved to the Netherlands to study at the jazz department of the Rotterdam Conservatory where he obtained degrees in Jazz Trumpet and in composition and arranging.
Michael Simon founded Roots United in 2000, a Latin jazz septet with which he explores a new approach to that genre. He collaborates with percussionist Gerardo Rosales since 1994, with Rob Mostert since 2010, has been a member of the dutch world/jazz ensemble Fra Fra Sound for 25 years, has worked with Lucas van Merwijk, Lester Bowie, Larry Harlow, Paquito D’Rivera, David Murray, James Carter and Toumani Diabaté. Michael’s prolific work as a composer and arranger is trusted and praised by such bands and artists as Nederlands Blazers Ensemble, Metropole Orkest, Estrella Acosta, Deborah Carter and Quinteto Tango Extremo, to name a few.
With an intensive career as educator and performer, Michael covers a wide range of musical genres and now focuses on producing new music inspired by Asian melodies, Latin music and Jazz. Vehicles for his musical ventures are his big band, The Dutch Caribbean Groove Orchestra, his quintet MS-5, and Asian Connection, an international project in which he collaborates with excellent emerging artists from Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan and Taiwan, and with which he recorded his latest album.