Pianist John Crawford recounts the life of drummer Simon Pearson, who passed away on 3rd September at the age of 54 following a brief illness. His talent, warmth, and generosity touched the lives of many in the music world.
A Drummer of Rare Qualities
Simon Pearson was widely regarded as a drummer with exceptional skills that set him apart from others. He possessed remarkable technique, making even the most challenging pieces sound easy, and an ability to sight-read almost any song as if he had known it for years.
Members of Issie Barratt’s Big Band at Trinity College can attest to Simon’s prowess, as he effortlessly sight-read the complex “Brayards Road,” which changes time signature every bar. His drum solos, while not something he actively sought, were breathtaking and musically compelling.
A Memorable Performance in Cyprus
In 2017, John Crawford’s Quintet was invited to perform at a new jazz festival near Paphos, Cyprus. Thanks to Simon’s extraordinary drumming, the Cypriot audience was captivated, and he ultimately stole the show.
A Unique Groove and Swing
Simon’s groove and swing were unparalleled, characterized by a subtle and understated touch that made him highly sought after by musicians across genres. His distinct drumming style attracted attention from groups like The Wedding Present, Steve Martland, Cinerama, and Goya’s Dress.
A Beloved Personality
Equally as memorable as his musical prowess was Simon’s warmth, generosity, and approachable nature. He was admired by everyone who had the good fortune to work with him, and comments on social media posts about his passing show that many still hold him in the highest esteem, even if they had not seen him in years.
As musician Terry de Castro said of Simon, “Everyone who met him fell for him.” Mike Kearsey also recalled Simon’s warm personality, stating, “I can still hear his laugh even though we lost touch in recent years.”
Simon Richard Pearson, a talented musician and cherished friend, will be deeply missed. He was born in Leeds on 26 August 1969 and passed away in London on 3 September 2023.