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Miguel Zenón saxophonist, composer and bandleader

Miguel Zenón, JIBARO

Miguel Zenón -][- Jíbaro –Mp3– [Marsalis Music, 2005]

Want to hear The Next Big Thing from young jazz practitioners? Look no farther. Miguel Zenón is it.

He’s got it all: monster chops on alto sax; a deeply delved folkloric compositional concept (indeed, he’s the Edward Simon of Puerto Rico, with this disc doing for him what La Bikina did for Simon); bandleading acumen far beyond his tender years; and that je ne sais quoi that serendipitously graces fortunate musicians every now and again.

The comparison to Edward Simon seems most apposite to these ears. Just as Simon has been able to evoke the deepest strains of Venezuelan folk musics on his handful of remarkable discs, so Zenón has done with indigenous Puerto Rican musics on this disc. Indeed, some of the numbers sound as if they could be right off of Simon’s La Bikina (e.g., “Punto Cubano,” and “Alguinaldo,” which just goes to show, I suppose, the deep affinity the various Latin musics have with each other). That’s fine by me, as La Bikina is one of my all-time favorite discs. Another apt comparison might be Egberto Gismonti and Northern Brazilian Indian music. Or again, Omar Sosa and what he’s done with Cuban folk music. -[::: Jan P. Dennis | Customer Review | Amazon.com :::]-