Miguel Zenón: Alma Adentro

Date: October 16, 2011
Publication: ABC’s The Weekend Planet

A highly creative but deeply respectful Miguel Zenón instrumentally explores songs that have had “a special and lasting effect on me”. He hails their authors as “the George Gershwins, Cole Porters and Jerome Kerns of Puerto Rican song.”

In 2011 Miguel Zenón is 34, lives in New York and is one of jazz’s most highly regarded alto saxophonists. When the Puerto Rican virtuoso first heard his new album’s songs he was a boy in a housing project in San Juan. 

On Alma Adentro (it means Deep in the Soul) Zenón interprets two pieces each, from five composers: Bobby Capó, Tite Curet Alonso, Pedro Flores, Rafael Hernández, and Sylvia Rexach. With each composer, Zenón arranges one song in “a more conservative way, staying closer to the original” and the other “with a more modern approach, taking more chances.”

The basic arrangements are Zenón’s, with orchestrations for large ensemble by his Argentinean friend Guillermo Klein. There are no strings attached. 

Klein conducts a ten piece woodwind ensemble (flutes, clarinets, bass clarinet, bassoon, English horn, oboe and French horns). The dectet and Zenón’s quartet were recorded, together - each cut on this remarkable album is a single, unedited take. 

The other members of Zenón’s quartet: pianist Luis Perdomo, double bassist Hans Glawischnig and drummer Henry Cole. 

This show will also give special attention to a lovely new Australian trio album. On Origami multi-instrumentalist extraordinaire Adam Simmons plays alto saxophone, exclusively. Howard Cairns plays double bass and Anthony Baker drums. 

Zenón has an excellent site: http://miguelzenon.com

See/hear some of the actual recording session, plus Zenón talking lucidly about the project and the composers:

 Background on the album:

 Background on the composers:

 The album’s title-piece is particularly beautiful. You can see/hear (most of) a longer, July 2011 ‘live’ quartet version here:

 Adam Simmons official site:

Submitted by Bobby on November 3rd, 2011 — 03:31pm