Miguel Zenón FAQ

What mouthpiece(s) do you use?
Meyer #6 small Chamber….I’ve played on this mouthpiece for 15 years.

Why did you decide to play alto saxophone rather than the ubiquitous tenor or the soprano?
When I first got to music school I initially wanted to play piano, but they had too many piano students already. I had an alto that my mom had bought me for a $100 or something like that,so it seemed like the obvious choice at the time. Question:  What reeds do you use? Answer: Rico Jazz select #4 Hard

When did you first decide to become a jazz musician?
After being exposed to a few jazz records in my teenage years, I became obsessed with the concept of improvisation and wanted to learn more about it…that was basically the main reason.

Which artists/musicians have influenced you the most?
I’ve really been very influenced by all the musicians that I’ve played with…but I learned a lot of important, CRUCIAL things by spending time with people like David Sanchez, Danilo Perez, Charlie Haden, Bobby Hutcherson and other leaders that I’ve worked with as a sideman…there are certain things that you can only learn by playing, so these experiences really helped me build a strong conception of what I wanted to be as a musician.

Which jazz performers have influenced you the most?
Having the opportunity to see legends like Elvin Jones, Roy Haynes, Chick Corea, Ornette Coleman and Wayne Shorter playing live is what comes to mind, just because it’s always incredible to be able to make that connection between what your seeing and what you’ve been listening to for all those years…Isaw Milton Nascimento perform a few years ago and that’s something that will stay with me for a long time.

Which saxophonists (specifically) have influenced you the most?
Many…But I feel very connected to Charlie Parker stylistically and John Coltrane conceptually. From the contemporary players, I have great admiration for the likes of Joe Lovano and Steve Coleman.

What was the first jazz composition you heard and loved? And why?
Hard to say…probably “On Green Dolphin Street”, just because I was able to get a hold of a chart and play it (or “try” to play it) with my friends.

What was your first professional gig as a musician?
In a Salsa band when I was 15 years old.

Did you initially go to school, college, etc. to be a musician?
Yes…Berklee and then Manhattan School of Music for my masters.

If you weren’t a musician, what would you be?
Probably an Engineer or something that has to do with science or math.

What are some of your interests outside of music?
Literature, Cinema…I’m also a obsessive Sports fan (GO RED SOX!!!!!!)

What saxophones do you play?
Selmer Mark 6 Alto, Serial # 207900