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Folk Art: On Esta Plena, saxophonist Miguel Zenón matches the proletarian plena music of his native Puerto Rico with modern-jazz ethos

Date: 11.01.2009
Publication: Jazz Times
Author: Fernando Gonzalez


Smart and tough, the music on saxophonist Miguel Zenón’s Esta Plena (Marsalis) often evokes the sounds of his neighborhood back in Puerto Rico. But Esta Plena is not about nostalgia- it’s about a certain wisdom.
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Submitted by Ben on October 31st, 2009 — 11:00pm

Fine Plena Indeed: Esta Plena is notable for the quality of the jazz musicianship and the infectious rhythm of the panderos.

Date: 10.30.2009
Publication: World Music Central
Author: Angel Romero

If Marsalis Music signs you, it means you are above average in the world of American jazz. Puerto Rican saxophonist Miguel Zenón proved his worth at a young age. Last year Zenón was granted both a MacArthur and a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2008 and he has already recorded four albums for the reputable Marsalis Music. The latest release is Esta Plena. As the name implies, this recording is dedicated to one of the great musical traditions of Puerto Rico, the plena, reinterpreted with the approach of 21st century jazz.
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Submitted by Ben on October 29th, 2009 — 11:00pm

Claudia Acuña: Opening a new door in her charmed career

“Oh, you have a dog! Oh. I want a dog so bad,” vocalist Claudia Acuña says after hearing the household canine on the other end of the phone, Rocky, barking at a passing pickup.

Learning that Rocky is a black Lab / Shepherd cross, she instantly snaps, “I hate you,” and dissolves into giggles. “Labradors are one of my favorites.”

Acuña’s heart sits close to the surface, and if it’s touched, her heart leaps up into her luscious alto—where it resides throughout her latest CD, En Este Momento (Marsalis Records). Read more »

Submitted by admin on October 29th, 2009 — 11:00pm

Agenda stays loose at enjoyable Marsalis concert

Date: 10.19.2009
Publication: Democrat and Chonicle
Author: Jeff Spevak

 

Jazz is all about winging it, Branford Marsalis suggested early on. And since Jeff “Tain” Watts was still winging his way to Rochester, Marsalis’ unexpectedly slimmed-down quartet had to improvise in unusual ways Sunday evening at the Eastman Theatre.
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Submitted by Ben on October 18th, 2009 — 11:00pm

Exclusive First Listen: Miguel Zenón, 'Esta Plena'

Date: 10.14.2009
Publication: NPR.org
Author: Josh Jackson


Saxophonist Miguel Zenón’s career has taken a relentlessly upward trajectory over the past decade. He’s a 2008 winner of the prestigious Guggenheim and MacArthur fellowships, as well as a founding member of the SF Jazz Collective. All the while, Zenón has investigated his Puerto Rican roots with a quiet resolve. On his new recording, Esta Plena, he’s distilled his musical history into a clear conception: a cultural exchange between jazz and the folkloric form known as plena.
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Submitted by Ben on October 13th, 2009 — 11:00pm

Review: Miguel Zenón at Jazz Showcase "…this music deserves to be heard at full cry."

Date: 10.10.2009
Publication: Chicago Tribune
Author: Howard Reich


Since its inception, jazz has been an international music, drawing deeply on influences from the Caribbean, Africa and Europe.

But its global voice never has been more pronounced than in the past 20 years, thanks to the stylistic breakthroughs of Panamanian pianist Danilo Perez, Puerto Rican saxophonist David Sanchez, Chilean vocalist Claudia Acuña and many more.
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Submitted by Ben on October 9th, 2009 — 11:00pm

Miguel Zenón: A jazz genius takes on Puerto Rico

Date: 10.09.2009
Publication: Chicago Tribune
Author: Howard Reich


The music of Puerto Rico has played in Miguel Zenón’s imagination since his childhood in San Juan, where he was born.

But it wasn’t until a few years ago that he began to examine his musical heritage in depth, with remarkable results (and we refer not only to the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship, or “genius grant,” he was awarded in 2008).
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Submitted by Ben on October 8th, 2009 — 11:00pm

Album Review: Miguel Zenón's 'Esta Plena'

Date: 10.04.2009
Publication: About.com
Author: Jacob Teichroew


Miguel Zenón’s Esta Plena is a continuation of the saxophonist’s previous work, complete with exuberant melodies and voluble phrases that float above knotty rhythmic terrain. The core group, featuring pianist Luis Perdomo, bassist Hans Glawischnig, and drummer Henry Cole, is the same heard on Zenón’s last album, Awake, although Esta Plena is fitted around traditional Puerto Rican plena music.
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Submitted by Ben on October 3rd, 2009 — 11:00pm

Promising Chilean-born singer finds her voice; Claudia Acuña at The Jazz Showcase

Even a decade ago, when the Chilean-born singer Claudia Acuña was launching her recording career, she sounded like nobody else in jazz. The South American sensibility that colored everything she sang, as well as the sometimes smoldering, sometimes imploring quality of her vocals made her an emerging artist of unmistakable promise.

But now, seasoned by uncounted performances around the world and the various hard knocks that inevitably come with a career in music, Acuña has matured into one of the most searing jazz vocalists of the under-40 generation. Read more »

Submitted by admin on September 25th, 2009 — 11:00pm

Filling zapatos gigantes; Claudia Acuña's En Este Momento

Ad Hoc Tributes to Departed Masters always raise questions of motive. Typically the rearview mirror is not where resourceful jazz artists look for inspiration. However, a quartet of current releases illustrate why and how retrospective projects can successfully navigate inherent pitfalls and attain authenticity. Read more »

Submitted by admin on September 24th, 2009 — 11:00pm