“This young musician and composer is at once reestablishing the artistic, cultural, and social tradition of jazz while creating an entirely new jazz language for the 21st century.” –MacArthur Foundation, 2008.
Multiple Grammy Nominee and Guggenheim and MacArthur Fellow Miguel Zenón represents a select group of musicians who have masterfully balanced innovation and tradition. A groundbreaking and influential saxophonist, he has also developed a unique voice as a composer, concentrating on perfecting a fine mix of Latin American folkloric music and jazz.
Born and raised in San Juan, Zenón has released six recordings as a leader including his latest Alma Adentro (2011), a tribute to the Puerto Rican Songbook. As a sideman he has worked with jazz luminaries like Charlie Haden, David Sánchez, The Mingus Big Band, Bobby Hutcherson, Steve Coleman and The SFJAZZ Collective.
Zenón has been profiled in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, and DownBeat Magazine. He has also topped the Rising Star Alto Sax category of the DownBeat Critic’s Poll on four occasions. As a composer he has been commissioned by SFJAZZ, The New York State Council on the Arts, Chamber Music America, The John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, and many of his peers. Zenón has given hundreds of lectures and master classes at institutions all over the world and is a faculty member at New England Conservatory of Music. In 2011 he founded Caravana Cultural, a program which presents free Jazz concerts in rural areas of Puerto Rico.
In April 2008 Zenón received a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation. That same year he was chosen to receive the coveted MacArthur Fellowship, also known as the “Genius Grant”.
This is Miguel’s second visit to Litchfield. He appeared here in 2007 with Charlie Haden. He appears today with Luis Perdomo on piano, Hans Glawischnig on bass and Henry Cole on drums.