Miguel Zenón

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Miguel Zenón
Birth name Miguel A. Zenón
Born (1976-12-30) December 30, 1976 (age 39)
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s) Saxophonist
Instruments Alto saxophone
Website miguelzenon.com
Members Luis Perdomo, Hans Glawischnig, Henry Cole

Miguel Zenón (born December 30, 1976) is an alto saxophonist, composer, bandleader, music producer and educator living in New York City, USA. He is a Grammy nominee,[1] and the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship[2] and a MacArthur Fellowship.[3]

Early life[edit]

Born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Miguel Zenón received his first musical lessons from Ernesto Vigoreaux in the Residencial Luis Llorens Torres, a housing project in San Juan where he spent most of his childhood.[4] He then attended the Escuela Libre de Música, where he was trained for six years on classical saxophone by Angel Marrero.[5]

Later life and career[edit]

He attended Berklee College of Music, where he received a bachelors degree and studied with Bill Pierce, Hal Crook and Ed Tomassi. He later studied with Dick Oatts, Nils Vigeland and Ludmila Ulehla at Manhattan School of Music, were he received a masters degree before eventually settling in New York City. As a sideman, he has worked with The SFJAZZ Collective, Charlie Haden, Fred Hersh, Kenny Werner, Guillermo Klein, David Sánchez, The Village Vanguard Orchestra, The Mingus Big Band, Ray Barreto, Jerry Gonzalez, Jeff Ballard, Bobby Hutcherson, Steve Coleman and others.

His Esta Plena album (2009) was nominated for two Grammys.[1]

Zenón is a founding member of The SFJAZZ Collective, a group whose past and current members include Bobby Hutcherson, Joe Lovano, Joshua Redman, Brian Blade, Nicholas Payton, Dave Douglas, and Eric Harland.[6] He also served as one of the resident artistic directors for the first two seasons (2012–2013) of the SFJAZZ Center in San Francisco, California.[7]

As a composer, he has been commissioned by SFJAZZ, The New York State Council for the Arts,[8] Chamber Music America, The John Simon Guggenheim Foundation,[9] Jazz Reach,[10] Peak Performances[11] and PRISM Quartet,[12] among others. Zenón has been featured in articles on publications such as The New York Times,[13] The Wall Street Journal,[14] The Los Angeles Times,[15] The Chicago Tribune,[16] Jazz Times,[17] Boston Globe,[18] Newsday,[19] Bloomberg Pursuits,[20] as well as appearing on the cover of Downbeat Magazine on two occasions (2010 and 2014).[21][22] He has also topped the Rising Star Alto Sax category of the Downbeat Critic's Poll on four different occasions[23] and was chosen by both the 2012 Jazz Times Reader's and Critic's Poll as the top Alto Saxophonist of the year.[24]

In 2003, he taught and performed in West Africa as part of the Kennedy Center's Jazz Ambassador program.[25] Since then, he has taught at institutions such as The Banff Centre,[26] Berklee College of Music, Siena Jazz,[27] Conservatorium Van Amsterdam,[28] Conservatoire de Paris, Barnard College, University of Manitoba, Manhattan School of Music, NYU, UMass-Amherst[29] and the Brubeck Institute.[30] He is also a permanent faculty member at New England Conservatory of Music.[31]

In 2011, Zenón founded Caravana Cultural, a program which presents free-of-charge jazz concerts in rural areas of Puerto Rico.[32]


As leader[edit]

  • Identities are ChangeableMiel Music (2014)
  • Oye!!! Live in Puerto Rico – Miel (2013)
  • Rayuela w/ Laurent CoqSunnyside Records (2012)
  • Alma Adentro: The Puerto Rican SongbookMarsalis Music (2011)
  • Esta Plena – Marsalis (2009)
  • Awake – Marsalis (2008)
  • Jibaro – Marsalis (2005)
  • Ceremonial – Marsalis (2004)
  • Looking ForwardFresh Sound New Talent (2002)

As sideman[edit]

with SFJAZZ Collective[edit]

  • Live SFJAZZ Center 2015 – The Music of Michael Jackson & Original Compositions (2015)/SFJAZZ Records
  • Live SFJAZZ Center 2014 – The Music of Joe Henderson & Original Compositions (2014)/SFJAZZ
  • 10th Anniversary: Best of Live at the SFJAZZ Center (2013)/ SFJAZZ
  • Wonder – The Songs of Stevie Wonder (2013)/ SFJAZZ
  • Live SFJAZZ Center 2013 – The Music of Chick Corea & New Compositions (2013)/SFJAZZ
  • Wonder: The Songs of Stevie Wonder (2012)
  • Live 2011 8th Annual Concert Tour (September 2011) SFJAZZ
  • Live 2010 7th Annual Concert Tour (October 2010) SFJAZZ
  • Live 2009 6th Annual Concert Tour (October 2009) SFJAZZ
  • Live 2008 5th Annual Concert Tour (October 2008) SFJAZZ
  • Live 2007 4th Annual Concert Tour (July 2007) SFJAZZ
  • SFJAZZ Collective 2, (March 2006) Nonesuch
  • Live 2006 3rd Annual Concert Tour (January 2007) SFJAZZ
  • Live 2005 2nd Annual Concert Tour (January 2006) SFJAZZ
  • SFJAZZ Collective (May 2005) Nonesuch
  • Inaugural Season 2004 (August 2004)

with Guillermo Klein[edit]

  • Carrera (May 2012)/Sunnyside Records
  • Filtros (2008)/Sunnyside
  • Guillermo Klein & Los Guachos 3 (2002)/Sunnyside
  • Aaron Goldberg & Guillermo Klein, Bienestan (June 2011)/ Sunnyside

with David Sanchez[edit]

  • Coral (August 2004)/Sony
  • Travesia (2001)/Columbia
  • Melaza (2001)/Columbia

with Miles Okazaki[edit]

  • Figurations (May 2012)/ Sunnyside
  • Mirror (2006)
  • Generations (2009)/ Sunnyside

with Paoli Mejias[edit]

  • Jazzambia (2008)
  • Transcend (2006)
  • Mi Tambor (2004)

with Charlie Haden[edit]

  • The Land of the Sun (August 2004),Verve
  • Charlie Haden & The Liberation Music Orchestra, Not In Our Name (September 2005) Verve

with Brian Lynch[edit]

  • Spheres of Influence Suite (2006) Ewe Records
  • Brian Lynch, 24/7 (April 2005) Nagel Heyer

with Luis Perdomo[edit]

  • Links (May 2013)/ Criss Cross Jazz
  • Luis Perdomo, Focus Point (September 2004)/RKM

with Edu Tancredi y el Bandon 33[edit]

  • Ongoing Dreams (2002)/Fresh Sound
  • Edu Tancredi & Bandon 33, (1998)/Brownstone

with Hans Glawischnig[edit]

  • Panorama (January 2008) Sunnyside
  • Common Ground (2003)/Fresh Sound New Talent

with others[edit]

  • Kenny Werner, Coalition (September 2014)/Half Note Records
  • Julien Labro, From This Point Forward (May 2014)/Azica Records
  • Bobby Avey, Authority Melts for Me (May 2014)/Whirlwind Recordings
  • Jeff Ballard Trio, Time's Tales (February 2014)/Okeh Records
  • Alexis Cuadrado, A Lorca Landscape (September 2013)/ Sunnyside
  • Andy Montañez, Sueño (November 2012)
  • David Gilmore, Numerology – Live at The Jazz Standard (September 2012)
  • Edmar Castañeda, Double Portion (March 2012)
  • Henry Cole & The Afrobeat Collective, Roots Before Branches (March 2012)
  • Adam Cruz, Milestone (April 2011)/ Sunnyside
  • Antonio Sanchez, Live in New York at the Jazz Standard (August 2010) CAM Jazz
  • The Jason Lindner Big Band, Live at the Jazz Gallery (May 2007) Ansic Records
  • Edsel Gomez, Cubist Music (January 2006) Zoho Music
  • Mingus Big Band, I Am Three (June 2005)
  • Gilson Schachnik, Lampiao (2004) Candid
  • The Sound of New York Jazz Underground (December 2004) Fresh Sound New Talent
  • Chiara Civello, Last Quarter Moon (February 2005),Verve
  • Kendrick Oliver & The New Life Jazz Orchestra, Welcome to New Life (2003)/Sphere
  • The Jinga Quintet, A Day Gone By (2003)/Fresh Sound World Jazz
  • Ray Barretto, Homage to Art Blakey (2003)/Sunnyside
  • Quite Sane, The Child of Trouble Times (2002)/Rykodisc
  • Mika Pohjola, Landmark (2002)/Blue Music Group
  • Sebastian Weiss, Momentum (2001)/Fresh Sound New Talent
  • William Cepeda, Branching Out (2001)/Blue Jackel Entertainment
  • Greg Tardy, Abundance (2001)/Palmetto Jazz
  • Stephan Crump, Tuckahoe (2001)/Accurate
  • Either/Orchestra, More Beautiful Than Death (2000)/Accurate
  • Gilson Schachnik, Raw (2000)/Brownstone
  • Gabriel Rodriguez, Beginning (1999)

Album Reviews[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Saxophonist Miguel Zenon mines the Puerto Rican songbook". LA Times Blogs - Culture Monster. 2011-11-18. Retrieved 21 April 2016. 
  2. ^ "Miguel Zenón". Fellows. John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Archived from the original on 27 May 2013. 
  3. ^ "Miguel Zenón". MacArthur Fellows Program. MacArthur Foundation. 27 January 2008. 
  4. ^ http://www.noticel.com/noticia/165265/el-genio-del-jazz-que-salio-de-llorens-torres-galeria-y-video.html
  5. ^ https://vimeo.com/103838670
  6. ^ http://www.sfjazz.org/sfjazzcollective
  7. ^ http://jazztimes.com/articles/131440-concert-review-miguel-zen-n-at-the-sfjazz-center-may-22-25
  8. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/2004/06/05/arts/jazz-review-inspired-by-the-complexities-of-back-country-troubadours.html
  9. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/04/arts/music/04zeno.html
  10. ^ http://www.jazzreach.org/mainstage-concerts-featuring-metta-quintet.html
  11. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/08/arts/music/the-saxophonist-miguel-zenon-at-montclair-state.html
  12. ^ http://www.prismquartet.com/?concerts=heritageevolution-2-prism-quartet-w-tim-ries-miguel-zenon-at-symphony-space
  13. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/04/arts/music/albums-by-neil-young-bette-midler-and-miguel-zenn.html
  14. ^ http://online.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702304854804579234584233061164
  15. ^ http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/culturemonster/2011/11/saxophonist-miguel-zenon-mines-puerto-rican-songbook.html
  16. ^ http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/music/reich/ct-jazz-fest-finale-20140902-column.html
  17. ^ http://www.miguelzenon.com/articles/mz_jazztimes.pdf
  18. ^ http://www.bostonglobe.com/arts/2013/02/21/miguel-zenon-lets-his-rhythms-follow-changing-culture/0R8IDr7u80vYQprqv0pvyL/story.html
  19. ^ http://heavysoundsandtheabstracttruth.wordpress.com/2008/04/28/miguel-zenon-turns-traditional-puerto-rican-sounds-into-innovative-jazz/
  20. ^ http://www.miguelzenon.com/articles/The%20Art%20of%20the%20Tux%20-%20Bloomberg%20Pursuits.pdf
  21. ^ http://www.miguelzenon.com/articles/MZ_Downbeat.pdf
  22. ^ http://www.miguelzenon.com/articles/Zenon_DownBeat_December_2014.pdf
  23. ^ http://www.downbeat.com/default.asp?sect=stories&subsect=story_detail&sid=1021
  24. ^ http://jazztimes.com/articles/76240-the-2012-expanded-critics-poll
  25. ^ http://allafrica.com/stories/200306110196.html
  26. ^ http://www.banffcentre.ca/faculty/faculty-member/3107/miguel-zenn/
  27. ^ http://photos.allaboutjazz.com/gallery_image.php?id=119740
  28. ^ https://www.toovia.com/place/amsterdam-netherlands/jazz-department-conservatorium-van-amsterdam
  29. ^ http://www.umass.edu/newsoffice/article/saxophonist-miguel-zenon-perform-oct-18
  30. ^ https://brubeckinstitute.wordpress.com/category/news/
  31. ^ http://necmusic.edu/faculty/miguel-zenón
  32. ^ http://www.miguelzenon.com/caravana_cultural.php

External links[edit]