Simon Moullier has traveled many miles, literally and artistically, since his days coming up as a classically trained multi-percussionist in his native Nantes, France. Now based in Brooklyn, he’s become a major voice on the vibraphone, with formidable improvising ability and a capacious musical vision that he’s documented on a must-hear debut album, Spirit Song.
His original compositions evoke the spirits of earth and sun, wind, moon, water, and not least of all the human spirit itself. The songs bring together a soaring, sometimes hymn-like melodic gift with a strong rhythmic dance that stems naturally from his percussion background. Synthesizer textures and a chromatic balafon from Burkina Faso enliven the sonic atmosphere all the more. Two of jazz’s most compelling saxophonists, Morgan Guerin and Dayna Stephens, appear on the album as well. No doubt Spirit Song bears out the recognition that Moullier has received from such greats and mentors as Herbie Hancock and Quincy Jones. “His music is fresh, it speaks to everyone,” says Hancock. “Best vibes player I’ve heard,” Jones remarks.
Moullier studied with Hancock during his time as a student at the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz in Los Angeles, where the first of two main sessions for Spirit Song took place in 2017. He came to the attention of Quincy Jones at the Havana International Jazz Festival in Cuba; the two reconnected back in LA and began a series of hours-long informal hangs, during which Moullier learned and grew immeasurably. Acknowledging his deep gratitude for Black American Music, Moullier humbly offers Spirit Song to his teachers and the forebears of this artform. “I am and will always be a guest in this room,” he says. (
(*This press release is from his previous and debut album Spirit Song.)
Listen to the atmospheric textures, lyricism, and melodically seductive “COUNTDOWN” by Simon Moullier