|Miguel Zenon is one of today's foremost jazz altoists.|
According to the artist's website: "The album features original music by Zenón, which was specifically written for the members of the Quartet and directly inspired by their individual playing and personalities."
Zenon is a winner of a coveted MacArthur Fellowship and a founding member of the well-regarded SFJazz Collective, which has appeared in the Carmel Palladium's jazz schedule. He teaches at the New England Conservatory in Boston, having graduated near the turn of the century from the same city's Berklee School of Music.
In an interview broadcast recently on WICR-FM's "Have You Heard Jazz," Zenon says that he tries to convey to students the importance of experience in developing their own voice. Specifically, he says that amounts to playing in someone else's band and learning from more seasoned musicians. He advocates for burgeoning musicians the attentive nurture of recordings, taking care not to enter the studio (in a date under one's own name, that is) until "you want to make a statement."
The native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, told radio interviewers Richard Dole and Matthew Altizer that he works on his tone and breath control conscientiously, "making sure it's of good quality and represents you well."
Of Zenon's distinguished CD history when he was under contract to Marsalis Music, the outstanding release is "Awake," a balanced and satisfying, yet continually surprising, suite focused on the current quartet and also using a string quartet on a couple of tracks, plus guest jazz horn players Tony Malaby, Michael Rodriguez, and Ben Gerstein.