Miguel Zenon Quartet | Jazz Showcase | Jazz | Chicago Reader
This is a past event.
When: Thu., April 12, 8 & 10 p.m., Fri., April 13, 8 & 10 p.m., Sat., April 14, 8 & 10 p.m. and Sun., April 15, 4, 8 & 10 p.m. 2012
Price: $20-$25
Alto saxophonist Miguel Zenon, winner of a MacArthur prize in 2008, has spent much of the past decade exploring the music of his homeland, Puerto Rico, and devising new ways to connect it to jazz. In 2005 he delved into jibaro, a traditional music of the island's back-country troubadours, and four years later he led a inquiry into the propulsive folkloric Afro-Caribbean dance style plena. On his latest album, last year's Alma Adentro: The Puerto Rican Songbook (Marsalis Music), he digs into popular music, whether it be romantic ballads or hard-driving salsa, focusing strictly on melody—and on establishing Puerto Rican composers such as Bobby Capo, Sylvia Rexach, and Rafael Hernandez as analogous to American songwriters like Cole Porter and the Gershwins. Zenon fronts an agile and explosive quartet that also includes drummer Henry Cole, bassist Hans Glawischnig, and pianist Luis Perdomo, and the album features lush, translucent arrangements for a ten-piece wind section (by the great Argentine pianist and bandleader Guillermo Klein) that sometimes enrich Zenon's saxophone parts, sometimes wrap the songs in moody atmosphere, and sometimes pump up the gravity or density of the overall sound. This weekend Zenon leads a similar quartet, with Ricky Rodriguez subbing for Glawischnig. —Peter Margasak

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