Skip to main content

Jazz CD Release: Saxophonist/Composer Miguel Zenón releases Típico February 10 2017 on Miel Music

From a media release:

Internationally Acclaimed Saxophonist/Composer Miguel Zenón releases intimate new recording Típico 
February 10, 2017 on Miel Music

Zenón’s 10th recording as a leader celebrates his longstanding quartet with Luis Perdomo, Hans Glawischnig, Henry Cole

Pre-order/Buy the CD

Miguel Zenón’s new album, Típico, is above all a celebration of his longstanding quartet. His past several releases have generally fleshed out that core unit with additional instrumentalists as Zenón has looked outward to explore various aspects of his Puerto Rican heritage. This new album feels more intimate. Its focus stays closer to home, with nods to Zenón’s own personal and professional life as it zeroes in on what makes his band unique.

“I was thinking about what this band and the guys in the band mean to me as I was writing the music,” he explains. “I kept going back to this idea of us developing this common language that identifies us as a band.”

That language has been developing for more than a decade. Pianist Luis Perdomo and bassist Hans Glawischnig have been with Zenón since the turn of the millennium; Henry Cole joined the band in 2005. Their language is thoroughly fluent modern jazz, with all the instrumental prowess and rhythmic and harmonic complexity that that implies. But the dialect they’ve created together through the years is distinctive.

“‘Típico’ refers to something that’s customary to a region or a group of people,” Zenón says. “Or something that can be related to a specific group of people. And when I was writing the music, I was thinking about music that identified us and this band.”

Each of the album’s final three tracks, Zenón notes, was composed around a solo or signature rhythmic line that one of the band members had played before. “My approach was more systematic on those three compositions specifically. But the whole record essentially is about representing the sound of the band. The sound of our band.”

The album opens with “Academia,” a tune inspired by Zenón’s teaching at New England Conservatory, where he serves as part of the jazz faculty. “One of the great things about teaching at NEC is that I get the opportunity to create a personalized curriculum for each of my private students, depending on their needs and on what I feel they should be working on. So I find myself having to come up with new exercises constantly, in order to keep our interactions interesting and challenging. This composition is built around various harmonic and rhythmic exercises that I developed with some of my more recent students at the school.”

The second track, “Cantor,” honors Zenón’s friend and frequent collaborator Guillermo Klein. “Gullermo’s music has a very personal voice, something very unique. With this piece I was trying to convey some of what I feel are his most interesting qualities as a composer, like the lyrical character of his melodies and the very nuanced harmonic movement of his pieces. He also has very particular way of organizing the 3/4 bar, which he breaks down into three bars of 7/8 and one bar of 3/8. The piece touches on this a bit towards the end, sort of as a way of tipping my hat to a great friend and musician.”



The third and fourth tracks both stem from Zenón pondering what gives a particular song a folkloric feel. “Ciclo” emphasizes melody and rhythm, Zenón taking “a melody that is meant to sound very folkloric — a bit simpler harmonically and delineating a very specific beat” and building a complex extended cycle around it using smaller, interlocking rhythmic cells.

 “Típico” approaches its folkloric aims harmonically. “There’s a harmonic cadence that is very common in Latin American music, especially music in the Caribbean. Something that revolves around a minor key and then slides down, going ‘Subdominant Minor – Tonic Minor – Dominant – Tonic Minor.’ A very simple cadence, but one that is very unique and effective. It’s always caught my ear because I’m always on the lookout for things that serve as sort of musical connecting threads, things that makes me feel that the music from all these different countries and cultural expressions is somehow connected and coming out of the same combination of elements. I built this specific composition around this cadence, and called it “Típico” in reference to this Pan-American idea.”

“Sangre Di Me Sangre” is a tune the quartet has been playing for a while now, a balladic tribute to Zenón’s 4-year-old daughter, Elena, written before her first birthday. “I was sitting in this park with her,” he recalls. “She was playing around and I sat down and sketched out the song on my notepad.” Zenón wrote the piece first with lyrics, then orchestrated it for the quartet, featuring Glawischnig’s bass both on a sprightly introductory melody played in unison with Perdomo and on a solo meant to convey a singing quality.

Glawischnig is also featured on “Corteza,” its melody derived from Zenón’s transcription of his bass solo opening the track “Calle Calma” on the 2009 Zenón album Esta Plena. It, too, has a balladic feel, with lyrical solos from Zenón and Perdomo leading to a closing uptempo restatement of the theme.

The Perdomo feature “Entre Las Raíces” (“Amongst the Roots”) is more fiery, emphasizing two key facets of the pianist’s musical personality. The intricate melody he and Zenón whip through together was transcribed from a Perdomo solo on “Street View: Biker,” the opening track on Perdomo’s album Awareness. But this arrangement opens with Perdomo playing wild and free, and Zenón’s alto solo when it comes reveals a free side of his own, veering more toward Ornette Coleman or Albert Ayler.

“The piece is very free in terms of the way we deal with the improvised segments,” says Zenón. “Luis always talks about listening to Bud Powell and Cecil Taylor at the same time when he was growing up in Caracas, and always having a foot in this freer, avant-gardish world of jazz. And when you hear him play on that track, it sounds that way. For that piece specifically, he really sounds like he’s 100 percent in his element.”

Cole’s playing is suitably free on “Entre Las Raíces” as well, but his featured track, “Las Ramas” (“The Branches,” Cole’s own debut album having been titled “Roots Before Branches”), required more discipline. “I wrote the piece around this figure that he has been developing over the last few years and plays all the time,” says Zenón. “The piece is very difficult to play — sort of like an etude for the drums, pretty much. And I know he worked very hard on it. Even though the original idea came from him, he worked very hard on making it precise and making it clean, and really sounded amazing on this track.”

It’s no accident that the final three songs are named for parts of a tree. “I was thinking of the band as a tree,” Zenón acknowledges. “And thinking of myself as the watcher. I mean, I’m part of it also. But mostly I’m observing these amazing musicians night after night, and how together they kind of make up this living organism.”

Zenón is onto something with that metaphor. The spotlight cast by Típico illuminates how alive his quartet’s music has always been, while never ceasing to evolve and grow.

Miguel Zenón 
February – March 2017 Tour Dates
• Thursday, February 9 – La Nouvelle Scene, Studio, TD Ottawa Winter Jazz Festival, Ottawa, Canada
• Friday, February 10 - Villa Victoria Center for the Arts - Boston, MA
• Saturday, February 11 - Annenberg Center Live,  Philadelphia, PA
• Tuesday – Sunday, February 14 - 19 - Village Vanguard, New York, NY 
• Wednesday, February 22 - The Loft at UCSD - San Diego, CA
• Thursday, February 23 - Kuumbwa Jazz Center - Santa Cruz, CA
• Friday – Sunday, February 24 - 26 - SFJazz Center, Joe Henderson Lab - San Francisco, CA
• Wednesday, March 1- Cornish College of the Arts, Earshot Jazz - Seattle, WA
• Thursday & Friday, March 2 & 3 - Dazzle Jazz, Denver, CO
• Sunday, March 5: Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society,  Half Moon Bay, CA
• Tuesday, March 7: Appalachian State University, Boone, NC
• Wednesday, March 8:  Jazz Kitchen, Indianapolis, IN
• Thursday – Sunday, March 9 - 12 - Jazz Showcase, Chicago, IL

Comments

What Else Is Hot This Week?

FACTORY presents World Premiere ACTS OF FAITH November 19 to 28 2020 - Free Livestream

 From a media release: World Premiere FACTORY presents  ACTS OF FAITH by David Yee Directed by Nina Lee Aquino Starring Natasha Mumba November 19 – 28, 2020 @ 7:30PM Streamed live for 6 performances Free of charge TORONTO (October 19, 2020) - To kick off its groundbreaking 2020/21 season, Factory presents the world premiere of acts of faith, by multi-award winning Asian Canadian playwright David Yee, directed by Nina Lee Aquino, and starring Natasha Mumba. Written specifically to be performed for a digital platform, acts of faith will stream live to audiences at home for six performances, November 19-28, 2020.  Thanks to the generous support of the TD Bank Group, admission is being offered entirely free of charge to audiences across the country and beyond. acts of faith tells a story about the power of faith, the inescapable persistence of our online identities, and the nature of truth in a digital age. The story follows Faith, a young woman who gets mistaken for a prophet. When a ques

Blues Single | Bushwick Blooze Band: Waiting (Independent / 20 October 2020)

Blues Single Bushwick Blooze Band: Waiting (Independent / 20 October 2020) Stream It From Your Fave Service Waiting is the latest in a string of singles released by Bushwick Blooze Band. The Brooklyn-based blues trio have been performing and recording the blues around the NYC area since 2018. Their first album "Cryin' for the L Train" was released in January 2019, and included covers of famous songs composed by their greatest influencers such as Little Richard, The Allman Brothers Band, Freddie King, and Eddie Vinson.  Bushwick Blooze Band is finishing up the production of their second album "Yes Dear" and unlike the previous cover record, this new album will be their first original contribution to the genres they love. Waiting is an upbeat blues track with a party kind of veneer over solid musicianship. What begins with a classic blues feel transforms into an extended psychadelic flavoured trip. Inventive guitar licks almost make you forget about the virtuosity

Blaise La Bamba & Kotakoli November 7th 2020 Online - PWYC

 From a media release: Batuki Music Society and Alliance Francaise Toronto present A virtual concert featuring Blaise La Bamba & Kotakoli November 7th 2020 at 8:00 PM Enjoy the concert from home! K inshasa’s vibrant nightlife has long been world-famous. It is home to the subculture known informally as the Society of Ambiance-Makers and Elegant People (SAPEUR), which has spread its influence through artists such as Papa Wemba. Blaise La Bamba is part of this scene. He has worked with some of the top names of Congolese music, in particular General Defao. I n 2018, Blaise La Bamba founded Kotakoli , an all-star collective of musicians that perform an energetic mix of Congolese rumba and soukous . In the company of Kotakoli, this veteran musician brings Congolese popular music back to the forefront, with spellbinding dances. The Details Date: Saturday November 7th, 2021  Blaise La Bamba and Kotakoli Virtual Concert Time: 8:00 PM Tickets: Pay what you can This concert is offered to you

CD Release: TriBeCaStan's New Deli Breaks the Time/Space Continuum in New Deli (Feb 7)

From a media release: New Release from Little Known Government of TriBeCaStan : Capital New Deli Found to Have Irregular Time-Space Continuum EverGreene Music - February 7, 2012 TriBeCaStan: News Alert. This morning Aljazzeera reported that the questionable nation of TriBeCaStan ( www.tribecastan.tv ) has made scientific breakthroughs in time travel. The unrecognized republic of nomads has broken the code of the time/space continuum. And by broken we mean: it no longer works. Applying sonic techniques once only known to a small group of punk rock shamans, the nation's most prestigious scientific entity, the TriBeCaStani FolkLorkEstra, uses sound alone to simultaneously place listeners in eras separated by decades and terrains separated by oceans. The breakthrough is outlined in an auditory compendium titled New Deli (distributed by the state-run EverGreene Music, set for release February 7, 2012 ), a recording that allows the world to experience a type of soulful networking mor

Jazzy Pop: Shihori - Soul Trip (Independent / 4 September 2020)

Jazzy Pop: Shihori - Soul Trip (Independent / 4 September 2020) New York City based singer and songwriter Shihori's new single Soul Trip is atmospheric and ambient. Interesting rhythms and interwoven melodic vocal lines showcase jazzy harmonic progressions in a slow groove mode.  As a songwriter, she uses electronic effects with impeccable musical taste. As a singer, her flexible vocals range from a sweet soprano to a strong mid-range. A veteran of the Japanese pop scene, Shihori moved to New York City in 2018, a move she talks about in a media release. "I was so surprised when I came to NY for the first time. Independent and strong women are respected and there are lots of different preferences in music and style. I thought, 'oh my God! This place really accepts uniqueness and freedom! I didn't know there is a place like this totally different world that allows you to be yourself. Everybody looks so different. So many races, colors, cultures, fashion, ideas...I am so