Miguel Zenón Quartet
Miguel Zenón, alto saxophone player, is considered to be one of the leading saxophonists of his generation. He mixes Latin American traditions (more specifically those from Puerto Rico) with jazz. His latest album ‘Alma Adentro’, a tribute to the Puerto Rican songbook, is an explosive reproduction of the work of legendary Peurto Rican composers.
Zenón was one of the founders of the SF Jazz Collective and collaborated with several musicians such as Bobby Hutcherson, Joe Lovano, Joshua Redman, Brian Blade, Nicholas Payton, Dave Douglas and Eric Harland. He was also a member of Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra. Zenón has the same traditions and values as other South American musicians such as pianist Danilo Perez, saxophonist David Sanchez and drummer Dafnis Prieto. His polished and refined sound makes him stand out, but he can also play passionately and lively. He give performances full of energy with moments of complete tenderness.
He has already made six albums, each of it marked by evolution and growth. He gives a new sound to Afro Caribbean Jazz while staying true to its traditions. His album ‘Jibaro’ (2005) was based on the rural music of Puerto Rico. On his album ‘Esta Plena’ (2008), he got influenced by the folkloric Plena music. ‘Alma Adentro’, his latest album, is a tribute to the Puerto Rican songwriters of the period from 1920 until 1970, such as Bobby Capo, Tite Curet Alons, Rafel Hernandez and Sylvia Rexach, which can be seen as the Puerto Rican versions of Gerhswin, Cole Porter and Jerome Kern. For this album, Zenón cooperated with an ensemble consisting of ten members playing wind instruments.
Zenón has been nominated regularly for a Grammy Award, won a Guggenheim Fellowship and received the famous Mac Arthur Fellowship in 2008 (which is better known as the ‘Genius grant’).
He was the founder of the Caravana Cultural project with the aim of giving concerts in rural areas in Puerto Rico. Every four months, he plans to give a concert together with top musicians, during which he will bring the work of several jazz legends such as Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington and Miles Davis. In San Juan he already organizes regular jam sessions with young and more inexperienced musicians.