News posts that reference press.

Alma Adentro, Miguel Zenón's new vision for Puerto Rican standards

Publication: State of the Arts, Minnesota Public Radio
Author: David Cazares
Date: September 29, 2011

For the cover photo of his latest CD, the alto saxophonist Miguel Zenón picked a stirring three-decades-old image shot by New York Times writer David Gonzalez. Read more »

Submitted by Courtney on September 30th, 2011 — 03:54pm

Miguel Zenón: Alma Adentro: The Puerto Rican Songbook (2011)

Publication: All About Jazz
Author: Dan McClenaghan
Date: August 24, 2011

The cover photo on alto saxophonist Miguel Zenón’s Alma Adentro: The Puerto Rican Songbook is of two people dancing in the middle of a boulevard. They are nicely dressed. The man’s coat tail flies and their dance clasp is a passionate embrace, suggestive of a romantic yearning hitched to the side of a good time, a posture suggesting a sense of pride and dignity. And that’s what the music on this release is, in large part, all about.  Read more »

Submitted by Courtney on September 27th, 2011 — 12:20pm

Miguel Zenón – Alma Adentro: The Puerto Rican Songbook (2011)

Publication:   Exystence
Date: September 13, 2011

 When so-called “Latin jazz” comes up in conversation, music or musicians connected to Cuba or Brazil are usually the topic of conversation. While it’s true that Afro-Cuban stylings, bossa nova beats and sizzling samba numbers seem to dominate in this umbrella category, they’re only the tip of the iceberg that is the music of Latin America. Thankfully, some important jazz musicians are helping to broaden the rest of the world’s view on what Latin America has to offer. Pianist Danilo Perez has connected the dots between music from his native Panama and jazz, and alto saxophone star Miguel Zenón is doing the same thing for Puerto Rico. Read more »

Submitted by Courtney on September 27th, 2011 — 11:10am

Miguel Zenón: Alma Adentro

Publication: Financial Times
Writer: Mike Hobart
Date: September 24, 2011

 A studio-produced album from the Puerto Rican saxophonist

The pure-toned alto saxophonist captures the romance of his Puerto Rican heritage with clean cadenzas and the sway of a 10-piece wind ensemble – the album is subtitled The Puerto Rican Songbook.

The core pulse is contemporary modern, fuelled by a cracking rhythm section, but the swirl of flutes, woodwind and horns adds authenticity as well as textures, and is impressively integrated into the whole – the studio-produced album was live recorded. Zenón remains the focus, surging through the orchestral layers and burning to a climax.

Submitted by Courtney on September 26th, 2011 — 11:56am

Branford on Bay Area's 7Live

Watch Branford Marsalis interviewed on 7Live and discuss how growing up in New Orleans prepared him for a variety of musical projects later in life.

Submitted by Courtney on September 26th, 2011 — 09:12am

Sax great brings quartet to Yoshi's in SF

Date: September 22, 2011

One of the most influential saxophone players of his generation returns to the Bay Area for an extended run of performances at Yoshi’s in San Francisco. Grammy award-winning saxophonist Branford Marsalis has made a career out of ably exploring a number of different musical avenues ranging from swinging straight-ahead sounds to classical to pop and hip-hop. The oldest son of noted New Orleans pianist Ellis Marsalis, Branford and his trumpet-playing brother Wynton are often credited with the early ‘80s resurgence of interest in the traditional hard-bop style of such legends as Cannonball Adderley and Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers.  Read more »

Submitted by Courtney on September 23rd, 2011 — 09:39am

Miguel Zenón Alma Adentro: The Puerto Rican Songbook

Publication: The Alibi
Author: Mel Minter

Date: September 22, 2011

 Though not yet 35 years old, saxophonist Miguel Zenón has already built an impressive, mature body of work that explores the music of his native Puerto Rico through the jazz lens. The latest in this growing oeuvre, Alma Adentro focuses on the Puerto Rican songbook, proffering a breathtaking homage to popular tunes from Tite Curet Alonso, Bobby Capó, Pedro Flores, Rafael Hernández and Sylvia Rexach. The absolute command and freedom of Zenón’s performances, and his perfectly articulated arrangements for his masterful quartet and a backing woodwind ensemble, deftly orchestrated by Guillermo Klein, capture the music’s lyrical urgency and supple romance.

Read more »

Submitted by Courtney on September 23rd, 2011 — 09:47am

Review: Branford Marsalis Quartet: tour-de-force blend of order and mayhem

September 21, 2011
By Richard Scheinin

During Tuesday night’s opening set by the Branford Marsalis Quartet at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center, I sat in the front row, directly in front of the drums. This meant experiencing, for the next 75 minutes, the unremitting physical force and inventive flow of 20-year-old drummer Justin Faulkner, whose playing sums up the ethos of this great band: order and mayhem, glued together as one. The order inside the mayhem; the mayhem inside the order.

Branford MarsalisThe quartet — which you can see through Sunday at Yoshi’s-San Francisco — played two sold-out shows at the Kuumbwa, the little Santa Cruz club, where Marsalis’s group always plays as if it’s just won the lottery. This was its first visit to Santa Cruz in over two years; the last time through, Faulkner, straight out of a high school band program in Philadelphia, had just joined the group.

On “Teo,” by Thelonious Monk, Faulkner began Tuesday with the easy bounce-and-snap swing of Monk’s old drummers; someone like Frankie Dunlop. Then he threw in a New Orleans second-line flourish and moved toward a swirling Elvin Jones space, which is where this group lands a lot.

And now Marsalis entered with his solo on tenor saxophone, which he built patiently, even meticulously: Long, long notes, giving way to exhilarating bebop lines, tonguing just about every note, like old-time Sonny Rollins. Then he let loose, escalating into a post-Coltrane blast furnace — and in the middle of this holy-roller mayhem, he and pianist Joey Calderazzo glanced at one another and simultaneously played two or three bars of melody from Charlie Parker’s “Yardbird Suite.”

It was surreal, as if they had stepped into an adjoining room. Were they sharing a private joke? Showing off? Or maybe their brains are just linked after 13 years of sharing the bandstand.

few observations: Marsalis has a massive sound; he doesn’t need to get anywhere close to a microphone to be heard. Also, he makes the saxophone sound like a woodwind; there’s this rich woodsy-ness to his tone. His delivery is urgent and beautiful. Ditto for bassist Eric Revis. Every note that he plays is a gem — fat tone, perfect pulse, like Jimmy Garrison. He never overplays; he seems to arrive at each note inevitably, as if it is the result of long, silent consideration.
Read more »

GMU Presents An Evening With Branford Marsalis

Publication: Fairfax News
Date: September 21, 2011

Known for his unmatched technique, forward-thinking approach and incredible versatility, three-time Grammy-winning saxophonist Branford Marsalis is a member of the first family of jazz and has performed with many 20th century jazz giants, including Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock and Sonny Rollins. George Mason University’s Center for the Arts presents “An Evening with Branford Marsalis,” featuring a program of original compositions and modern jazz standards, at the Concert Hall on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2011 at 8 p.m.

Rounding out the Branford Marsalis Quartet are pianist Joey Calderazzo, bassist Eric Revis and drummer Justin Faulkner. Read more »

Submitted by Courtney on September 21st, 2011 — 10:21am

Dolls, books give glimpse of historic New Orleans

Publication: Associated Press
Author: Chevel Johnson 
Date: September 19, 2011

New Orleans’ rich melting-pot history has always been a big draw for authors.

But telling it through the eyes of two antebellum 9-year-old girls — one black, one white — offers unusual perspectives on life’s challenges in the mid-19th century.

American Girl Brand LLC, a subsidiary of toy giant Mattel Inc., usually introduces its dolls (and the book characters based on them) one at a time.

In August, the company launched two — called Cecile Rey and Marie-Grace Gardner — along with a six-book series set in New Orleans that details their fictional lives, friendship, and tests they and family members face in dealing with the spread of yellow fever in 1853. Read more »

Submitted by Courtney on September 20th, 2011 — 02:54pm