Miguel Zenón News

Miguel Zenón - Alma Adentro

Publication: JazzTimes
Author: Michael J. West
Date: November 2011 issue

Alma Adentro is alto saxophonist Miguel Zenón’s most ambitious exploration yet of Puerto Rico’s music. It is also his best. The disc surveys the Puerto Rican Songbook, but Zenón assumes command of each tune with ease. Read more »

Submitted by Courtney on November 7th, 2011 — 11:56am

Jazz Setlist, November 3-9: From Flute to Banjo

Publication: Washington City Paper
Author: Michael J. West
Date: November 3, 2011

Wednesday, November 9
A MacArthur Genius Grant winner, Miguel Zenón filters jazz through all aspects of the music of his native Puerto Rico: folk songs (“plena”), art songs, pop songs, and good old-fashioned dance music. His music, executed on his peppery, slithery alto saxophone, is beautifully designed and played, and gives off a surprisingly raw energy that can take even Zenón by surprise. Credit for that should go as well to the stunning quartet he leads: pianist Luis Perdomo, bassist Hans Glawischnig, and drummer Henry Cole, each one of the strongest and most in-demand instrumentalists in New York. With Zenón, however, they’re something else again, and some of the hottest new jazz around. They perform at 8 p.m. at Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H Street NE. $40. Read more »

Submitted by Courtney on November 4th, 2011 — 01:54pm

Miguel Zenón: Alma Adentro

Date: October 16, 2011
Publication: ABC’s The Weekend Planet

A highly creative but deeply respectful Miguel Zenón instrumentally explores songs that have had “a special and lasting effect on me”. He hails their authors as “the George Gershwins, Cole Porters and Jerome Kerns of Puerto Rican song.”

In 2011 Miguel Zenón is 34, lives in New York and is one of jazz’s most highly regarded alto saxophonists. When the Puerto Rican virtuoso first heard his new album’s songs he was a boy in a housing project in San Juan. 

On Alma Adentro (it means Deep in the Soul) Zenón interprets two pieces each, from five composers: Bobby Capó, Tite Curet Alonso, Pedro Flores, Rafael Hernández, and Sylvia Rexach. With each composer, Zenón arranges one song in “a more conservative way, staying closer to the original” and the other “with a more modern approach, taking more chances.” Read more »

Submitted by Courtney on November 3rd, 2011 — 03:31pm

Interview with Branford Marsalis: Fearless lieder

Publication: Capital Bop
Author: Giovanni Russonello
Date: October 11, 2011

Branford Marsalis conveys his thoughts in conversation much as he does as a saxophonist. New ideas emerge with steady self-assurance, boldly and unceasingly. When he pauses he does it for emphasis – not because he has lost his train of thought or needs to reorient himself. If the tabloids could be bothered to expound on the scandals of the jazz world, Marsalis might be their go-to guy for headline-grabbing quotes. He’s called avant-garde legend Cecil Taylor’s demands on his audience “self-indulgent bullshit;” opined that “students today are completely full of shit,” overly coddled and under-criticized; and recently said of contemporary jazz, “There’s so little of it that’s actually good that when it’s good, it shocks me.” Marsalis’ hard-nosed perspective comes from decades spent as one of the most respected jazz saxophonists around, but it’s colored by his 10 years in the soap opera of American popular culture, first as a star in Sting’s touring band, then as musical director of the Tonight Show.

For more than 15 years now, Marsalis has focused once again on jazz, releasing a bevy of stellar post-bop albums and founding his own label, Marsalis Music. His latest record, Songs of Mirth and Melancholy, a duet with pianist and longtime accomplice Joey Calderazzo, explores the alternately disconsolate and ecstatic world of German classical folk music, or lieder. Read more »

Submitted by Courtney on October 12th, 2011 — 12:49pm

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