Miguel Zenón, one of the most exciting new voices in the jazz world, takes his most personal journey to date on Awake. This is the saxophonist’s third Marsalis Music release. Zenón was voted the overall Best New Artist in the 2006 JazzTimes Critics Poll. Awake follows Zenón’s 2004 Marsalis Music debut, Ceremonial, a program of original compositions, and 2005’s Jíbaro, a bold reinterpretation of the rural music of Zenón’s native Puerto Rico. Now, the alto saxophonist and his talented quartet plus special guests present a program that is sure to bring even greater accolades.
The ten tracks chart what for Zenón has been a critical inner journey. «The focus is more personal and philosophical than Jíbaro,» he explains, «although that album also has a central theme. I wrote all of the music for Awake, and the individual compositions fell into an order around one of the older tunes, ‘Awakening,’ which represents a period of personal growth I went through. What resulted was an awareness of my priorities, and how I want to portray myself as an artist.»
Awake is the strongest statement to date from Zenón, who has also been turning heads of late through his affiliations with the SF Jazz Collective, Guillermo Klein Y Los Gauchos and Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra. «I feel I’m growing as both a composer and a communicator of ideas,» Zenón notes. Awake captures that growth, as well as the passion, intellect and spirit that has become a Miguel Zenón trademark.
Marsalis Music has joined forces with Berklee College of Music to bring Marsalis Jams to Cafe 939, Berklee’s student-run, all-ages, music venue and coffee house. The program, an innovative combination of concert performance, jam session, and classroom interaction will be presented periodically during the college’s academic semesters as Marsalis Berklee Jams. Launching the initiative will be the quartet of Berklee alumnus and Marsalis Music artist Miguel ZenÃ²n on April 2-3. These will be the initial concerts in the Cafe 939 space.
To launch Marsalis Berklee Jams on Wednesday April 2 and Thursday, April 3, the Miguel Zenón Quartet will present two Master Classes (open to Berklee students only), followed by evening programs with brief opening sets by the quartet that will segue into jam sessions. Participation in the jam sessions will be open to all Berklee students, while a limited number of seats at Cafe 939 will be available to the public.
Marsalis Jams was conceived by Branford Marsalis as an initiative to provide meaningful interaction between established musical ensembles and dedicated student musicians at the high school and college levels. These consist of mini-residencies that include classroom interaction and culminate in performance/jam sessions in which the visiting band follows an opening set of its own music by inviting student musicians on stage to play. Marsalis Jams provides a rare opportunity for students to play with working groups and opens a window into the music’s creative process for members of the audience. Since 2003, the program has been successfully presented in colleges and high schools in Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Texas.
The Miguel ZenÃ²n Quartet, which won raves from students, educators, and listeners when it brought Marsalis Jams to two Miami high schools in 2006, is one of the most impressive ensembles to emerge in the jazz world in the past decade. Zenón’s Quartet also features pianist Luis Perdomo, bassist Hans Glawischnig, and drummer Henry Cole. The Quart