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Thread: Miguel Zenon

  1. #1
    Jazz Impurist J_Deighton's Avatar
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    Miguel Zenon

    Hey Clave-
    I just picked up JIBARO. I'm half way through my first listen, and so far I like his soloing, and some of the writing. (Other bits sound very much like the post-young lion writing that tends to turn me off. Complicated writing that may be interesting harmonically or whatever, but seems very "writerly" for lack of a better word.) I dig the dudes tone, and am really glad you recommended him to me. I'll spin this disc a bunch more to see how it opens up for me.
    Anyone else got opinions on this Miguel Zenon character?

  2. #2
    Da jazz-evangelist jazzofonik's Avatar
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    Cool

    I rather liked his previous disc, CEREMONIAL and have heard bits of his work with SF Jazz Collective, and on David Sanchez' last album that are pretty good
    The soul is dyed the colours of its thoughts
    -Marcus Aurelius

  3. #3

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    One of the things that's different about his work is his incorporation of Puerto Rican musical forms and rhythms, which I like very much. What I've heard of his work to date doesn't strike me as being "typical young lions," but maybe that's just me? (Any more than Jerry Gonzalez and the Fort Apache Band are "typical Latin jazz" players/composers.)

    BTW, there are a lot of MP3s (mostly live cuts) available on his site: www.miguelzenon.com, in case you want to hear more. (From both of his CDs, along with other material.)

    NOTE: maybe LuckeyRaffy1925 will drop in on this thread - I'd like to hear more of his thoughts on Zenon.

  4. #4
    Registered User LuckeyRaffy1925's Avatar
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    maybe LuckeyRaffy1925 will drop in on this thread - I'd like to hear more of his thoughts on Zenon.
    Woo-Hoo! A Thread on Miguel Zenon! It's about time. Thanks J. Deighton for being open-minded and giving JIBARO a shot and starting this thread and to Clave for hipping me to it.

    One thing I can say about Miguel Zenon is that unlike some of the other more celebrated artists of his generation, MZ does not suffer from TYL Syndrome (The Young Lions). Young players who are not contributing anything melodically, harmonically or conceptually new than what was taking place 50 years ago, but receive the brunt of overall accolades nonetheless. With regards to Jazz and particularly with the instrument he plays, Zenon has been heavily influenced by and identifies with Charlie Parker's improvisational prowess and John Coltrane, both conceptually and playing-wise. Now Miguel is certainly not alone in that regard. However, despite those influences, he's managed to push himself outside of his musical idols' boundaries and develop his own unique voice. In that same spirit AS Bird and Coltrane. As well as Monk, Dizzy, Bud, Miles, etc. It's evident in his music. Aside from taking jazz in a new direction, he's also taking a musical language ("Jibaro") from his native Puerto Rico and taking it to new horizons. I suspect that the complicated writing J. Deighton was referring to that came across as somewhat interesting in a harmonic sense were those very same elements.

    As a result of both the elements he experiments with and the fact that he was born in Puerto Rico, Zenon gets pidgeon-holed as a "Latin Jazz" artist. Nothing could be further from the truth. Miguel is a tried and true musician in the purest sense, beyond any specific musical category. David Sanchez is like this. As is Danilo Perez, Vijay Iyer, Dafnis Prieto and others. Miguel is among the few young players in Jazz today that doesn't just shine in reading a complex arrangement, but can actually interact successfully with other fellow musicians and compliment them when improvisation is called for. The latter of which many musicians fall short on. If you ever get an opportunity to hear both David Sanchez and Miguel Zenon sharing the stage, I strongly recommend you check it out. It's quite a spiritual experience. Their intuitive ability to read each other and finish what the other is saying is, for me, what Jazz is all about. The same essence that made Diz and Bird stand out from the rest.

    Regards....

  5. #5
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    Keep talkin' bout Zenon - he'll probably come to Europe next summer, look forward to catch him live then.
    What punk was to rock, bebop was to jazz - the only difference is that bebop still sounds good (independent)

  6. #6
    Registered User LuckeyRaffy1925's Avatar
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    Hey Bubber,

    You're right about that. He should be heading your way (Europe) in Spring along with his friends in the SF JAZZ COLLECTIVE. I caught Miguel last night playing with the Jason Lindner Big Band @ Jazz Gallery in New York City. Lindner is another unsung player who should be receiving much more attention than what he's getting.

    After Miguel gets back from touring with Charlie Haden's Liberation Orchestra in the first few weeks of Decmber, he'll be heading out to his native Puerto Rico (along with drummer Henry Cole and Ricky Rodriguez, bassist for Ray Barretto) to host a series of Jam Sessions through January at a local Cafe in Old San Juan where he hopes to provide a platform for local Jazz musicians to have an opportunity to develop and hone their Jazz chops.

    Regards...

  7. #7
    AAJ's Birdologist clifton's Avatar
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    I like everything I've heard from Zenon so far. He's got a personal sound and an original conception, and I think he's going to be an important musician for a long time.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by LuckeyRaffy1925
    Hey Bubber,

    You're right about that. He should be heading your way (Europe) in Spring along with his friends in the SF JAZZ COLLECTIVE. I caught Miguel last night playing with the Jason Lindner Big Band @ Jazz Gallery in New York City. Lindner is another unsung player who should be receiving much more attention than what he's getting.

    After Miguel gets back from touring with Charlie Haden's Liberation Orchestra in the first few weeks of Decmber, he'll be heading out to his native Puerto Rico (along with drummer Henry Cole and Ricky Rodriguez, bassist for Ray Barretto) to host a series of Jam Sessions through January at a local Cafe in Old San Juan where he hopes to provide a platform for local Jazz musicians to have an opportunity to develop and hone their Jazz chops.

    Regards...
    I agree about Jason Lindner - from what I've heard (only CDs, not live) he's a major talent who very few people
    have heard of - I really wonder why.
    What punk was to rock, bebop was to jazz - the only difference is that bebop still sounds good (independent)

  9. #9
    Da jazz-evangelist jazzofonik's Avatar
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by LuckeyRaffy1925
    Hey Bubber,

    You're right about that. He should be heading your way (Europe) in Spring along with his friends in the SF JAZZ COLLECTIVE. I caught Miguel last night playing with the Jason Lindner Big Band @ Jazz Gallery in New York City. Lindner is another unsung player who should be receiving much more attention than what he's getting.

    After Miguel gets back from touring with Charlie Haden's Liberation Orchestra in the first few weeks of Decmber, he'll be heading out to his native Puerto Rico (along with drummer Henry Cole and Ricky Rodriguez, bassist for Ray Barretto) to host a series of Jam Sessions through January at a local Cafe in Old San Juan where he hopes to provide a platform for local Jazz musicians to have an opportunity to develop and hone their Jazz chops.

    Regards...

    Hats off to you Lucky. Ypur posts have always been great on the info. I'm behind with my purchases but I'm gonna get Jibaro before the year is out
    The soul is dyed the colours of its thoughts
    -Marcus Aurelius

  10. #10
    Jazz Impurist J_Deighton's Avatar
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    Haven't really had the time I'd like to give this CD- so I'll listen some more. His tone strikes me as unique- something I haven't said about a young sax player in yonks. The only thing I've heard of Lidner's was from the Small's CD on Impulse! eons ago. Nothing much grabbed me on the disc- except the bass player that sounded vaguely like Mingus lite- but again that was years ago.

  11. #11

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    You might want to try this disc:


  12. #12
    trumpet tpt1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LuckeyRaffy1925
    Woo-Hoo! A Thread on Miguel Zenon! It's about time.
    True. I heard Miguel Zenon with the SF Jazz Collective when they played at Rose Hall earlier this year. He sounded great (as did the whole band) and was featured on one of his own compositions (I think it was titled "2X2", but not sure). Joshua Redman tried to explain how damn hard it was to play it, but they swung like crazy on it and made it sound easy.

    Hey Luckey, see you on Wed.!

  13. #13

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    And a heads-up for pianist Edsel Gomez's new CD (on Zoho), which features Miguel Zenon, Don Byron, David Sanchez and Steve Wilson (among others) - can't wait to hear this one!

  14. #14
    Jazz Impurist J_Deighton's Avatar
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    Don Byron is waaaaay more my kind of thing than Joshua Redman- so I'll definitely check that out.

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    Edsel's worth hearing for himself - he's done some very interesting work on a couple of Byron's recordings (and others), and I think his debut as a leader is long overdue.

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