Saxophonist/Composer Miguel Zenón and “Esta Plena” to perform in New York City

Saxophonist/Composer & Bandleader Miguel Zenón will be performing with his Esta Plena Group at The Jazz Standard in New York City from Thursday June 10th, 2010 thru Sunday June 13th, 2010–in celebration of his latest release on Marsalis Music titled Esta Plena. – Set Times are 7:30 PM & 9:30 PM – with an 11:30PM set added on Friday and Saturday.

Through his elegant and innovative musical collages, Miguel Zenón continues to expand the boundaries of Latin and jazz music. As both a saxophonist and a composer, Miguel – a MacArthur Foundation “genius” 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.

Guggenheim and MacArthur Fellow Miguel Zenón was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico. There, he studied classical saxophone at the famed Escuela Libre de Musica. Although Zenón 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, Zenón received a scholarship to attend Manhattan School of Music and in 2001, he received a Masters in Saxophone Performance. In his relatively short, but rather illustrious career, Zenón 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 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. Zenón topped that category as well in 2008,making that the fourth time in the last five years. In 2005 Zenón was honored by Billboard magazine as one of the “Faces to Watch– 30 Under 30: Top Young Acts and Executives.” That year Zenón also released Jíbaro, 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, Jíbaro was uniformly well received and appeared on many top ten lists including The New York Times, Latin Beat, El Nuevo Día, 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, Zenón has made teaching a priority in his professional career. In 2003, as part of the Kennedy Center’s Jazz Ambassador’s Program, Zenón’s quartet was selected to teach and perform throughout West Africa. Since then he has 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. In April 2008 Zenón 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 known as the “Genius Grant”.  

For more on Zenón go to

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