Williamstown Jazz Festival: Miguel Zenón Quartet
“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.”
A winner of the 2008 MacArthur grant, Miguel Zenón began studying jazz at the Berklee School of Music after spending much of his life studying classical saxophone. He received his Masters in Saxophone Performance from the Manhattan School of Music in 2001.
His debut CD titled Looking Forward was the number one independent jazz record of 2002, according to The New York Times. Downbeat Critic’s Poll declared Zenón as the top Rising Star Alto Sax for three consecutive years. In 2005, Billboard magazine proclaimed him as one of the “Faces to Watch—30 Under 30: Top Young Acts and Executives.”
Zenón became one of the founding members of the SF Jazz Collective in 2004; the members of the group spend roughly two months with workshops and rehearsals, including splitting time between composing, performing, and teaching. His own quartet shared the Downbeat Critic’s Poll Rising Star Small Group in 2006 and 2007 with the SF Jazz Collective. His most recent CD, Awake, was chosen as one of the best Jazz CDs of 2008 by JazzTimes, Improv Magazine, El Nuevo Dia, and many others.
When Zenón is not touring, his priority is teaching. In 2003, his quartet performed and taught around West Africa. He is continuously involved with master classes, clinics, and residencies in many colleges and universities through out the world and is a private saxophone instructor at The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York.
Zenón’s latest project focuses on Plena Music from Puerto Rico as part of his fellowship with the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation.