Sunday, May 18, 2008

Miguel Zenon - Awake

This recording is a masterpiece of modern jazz composition. One that needs to be listened to and absorbed in its entirety, not one track at a time. It is more like a classical suite with the theme "Awakening" that begins the CD with a string quartet then repeated midway through with a free blowing brass ensemble and ending once again as a solo statement on alto sax. Flowing in between is some of the most original post modern jazz comps and arranging that I have heard in years. Miguel Zenon is a Puerto Rican native who studied alto saxophone classically in his homeland, but seriously with jazz at Berklee School of Music. Those elements of his latin roots, considerable chops on alto sax and jazz improvisation come together in his latest release Awake. Surrounded by his excellent quartet featuring Luis Pedromo on piano, Henry Cole on drums, and Hans Glawischnig on bass, these cats stretch the boundaries of modern jazz hard-bop, often venturing into free-form improv but always remaining close to the theme and meaning of these complex compositions. Zenon's brilliant use of the string quartet is minimal and well placed on the opening theme and in a beautiful composition 'Lamamilla'.

Miguel Zenón - Awake
You can hear samples in iTunes at the above link, or the track 'ulysses in slow motion' on this podcast episode of my jazz radio show In the Groove, Jazz and Beyond at the 45:30 mark into the show.

Learn more about Miguel Zenon's at his web site.

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