This young musician and composer is at once reestablishing the artistic, cultural, and social tradition of jazz while creating an entirely new jazz language for the 21st century." --MacArthur Foundation, 2008Miguel Zenon & Esta Plena"
Miguel Zenon - alto saxophone
Luis Perdomo - piano
Hans Glawischnig - bass
Henry Cole - drums
Juan Gutierrez - vocals & percussion
Obanilu Allende - vocals & percussion
Hector Tito" Matos - vocals & percussion
Through his elegant and innovative musical collages, Miguel Zenon continues to expand the boundaries of Latin and jazz music. As both a saxophonist and a composer, Miguel - a MacArthur Foundation grant recipient in 2008 - demonstrates an astonishing mastery of old and new jazz idioms, from Afro-Caribbean and Latin American rhythmical concepts to free and avant-garde jazz. His 2009 Marsalis Music CD Esta Plena, which Miguel wrote and produced in its entirety, received Grammy Award nominations for Best Latin Jazz Album and for Best Improvised Jazz Solo (for the track Villa Palmeras"). In this much-anticipated Jazz Standard run, Miguel and his exciting septet, including three soulful vocalists, will revisit the music of Esta Plena - don't miss it!
Miguel Zenon Bio:
Guggenheim and MacArthur Fellow Miguel Zenon was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico. There, he studied classical saxophone at the famed Escuela Libre de Musica. Although Zenon was exposed to jazz while in high school, it wasn't until he began his studies at the Berklee School of Music that his formal jazz training began. After graduating from Berklee, Zenon received a scholarship to attend Manhattan School of Music and in 2001, he received a Masters in Saxophone Performance. The distinguished list of educators he has studied with include: Angel Marrero, Leslie Lopez, Rafael Martinez, Danilo Perez, Dick Oatts, Dave Liebman, George Garzone and Bill Pierce.
In his relatively short, but rather illustrious career, Zenon has performed and/or recorded with a quite a diverse array of artists including: David Sanchez, Charlie Haden, The Village Vanguard Orchestra, Bobby Hutcherson, Bob Moses and Mozamba, The Either Orchestra, Guillermo Klein y Los Guachos, The Mingus Big Band, Jerry Gonzalez & The Fort Apache Band, Ray Barretto, and Steve Coleman, among others.
In 2004 Zenon was asked to become one of the founding members of the SF Jazz Collective; an octet whose past and present members include Joshua Redman, Bobby Hutcherson, Nicholas Payton, Joe Lovano, Dave Douglas and Brian Blade. The members, who participate in a residency period where they workshop and rehearse new music, divide their time (roughly two months) between composing, performing and teaching. The SF Jazz Collective has toured in the US, Canada, Asia, and Europe and to date, have released five critically acclaimed live recordings, garnering them a spot in the Downbeat Critic's Poll Rising Star Small Group category in both 2006 and 2007 - an honor which, coincidentally, they shared with Zenon's own quartet.
The Saxophonist and Composer has released four recordings as a Leader. His debut CD Looking Forward, was selected by the New York Times as the number one independent jazz record of 2002. In 2004, after being one of the first artists signed to Marsalis Music, he released the critically acclaimed Ceremonial. This same year also marked the beginning of three consecutive years on the top of the Downbeat Critic's Poll in the Rising Star Alto Sax category. Zenon topped that category as well in 2008,making that the fourth time in the last five years. In 2005 Zenon was honored by Billboard magazine as one of the Faces to Watch-- 30 Under 30: Top Young Acts and Executives." That year Zenon also released Jibaro, a tribute to the Musica Jibara" of Puerto Rico and commissioned by a grant from the New York State Council of the Arts. Like his previous recordings, Jibaro was uniformly well received and appeared on many top ten lists including The New York Times, Latin Beat, El Nueva Dia, and the Chicago Tribune. In 2006, the readers of Jazz Times Magazine voted him the Best New Artist of the Year. Awake, his fourth recording as a leader (and third for Marsalis Music) was released in April 2008.
In addition to touring extensively throughout the US and Europe and Latin America with his quartet, Zenon has made teaching a priority in his professional career. In 2003, as part of the Kennedy Center's Jazz Ambassador's Program, Zenon's quartet was selected to teach and perform throughout West Africa. Since then he as done master classes, clinics and/or residencies in such diverse institutions as the Banff Centre, University of Manitoba, LeMoyne College, UMASS-Amherst, the Brubeck Institute, Berklee College of Music, Conservatoire de Paris, Rotterdam Conservatory, Manhattan School of Music and the Diaz Institute. Zenon also serves as a private saxophone instructor at The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York. In April 2008 Zenon received a fellowship from the prestigious John Simon Guggenheim Foundation to work on his next project, which will focus on Plena Music from Puerto Rico. Later that year he was one of 25 distinguished individuals chosen to receive the coveted MacArthur Grant, also know as the Genius Grant".