Miguel Zenón gets back down to the business of making some serious music.

Fresh off of garnering his mantelpiece-polishing Guggenheim and MacArthur awards, alto saxophonist and composer Miguel Zenón gets back down to the business of making some serious music. No, what we hear on Zenón’s impressive new project isn’t steeped in the stuff of music of a capital “S”-serious nature, but music with integrity, energy, poise and a fresh vision of how the Afro-Caribbean jazz aesthetic can evolve without losing its deep roots. Read more »

Submitted by admin on October 31st, 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

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

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