C. Claiborne Ray, May 1998 - Cliborne Ray, an editor in the Science department of the New York Times is also an enthusiastic fan of jazz.
When the Alan Simon Trio and special guest, Ralph Lalama, played a festive concert at the 1997 Music Mountain Summer Music Festival in Falls Village, Connecticut, the world of jazz touched the world of chamber music. It was music to listen to as well as to move to. Alan's inspiration comes from players like Wynton Kelly, Herbie Hancock, Oscar Peterson, Bud Powell, Hank Jones, and McCoy Tyner. Ralph cites Stan Getz, Sonny Stitt, Sonny Rollins, and Hank Mobley as influencing his own musical style. The musicians romp through the heart of bebop territory on "Pal Joey" and "The Backbone" on which Joel Forbes' strong and rhythmic playing stands out, and Alan shows his Tyneresque ability to play percussively without bashing the melody. The program reaches back into the great American songbook for "Alone Together"..here Melito uses his mallets to exotic effect in a drum extravaganza. The album's title tune "Without A Song" is taken at a cheerful swing. Alan caresses a quiet solo piano interlude in his own "Falling." The closer is Horace Silver's breezy jazz waltz "Summer in Central Park, " its final bird call a fitting ending to a souvenir of another summer night of chamber jazz.