Firehouse 12 • 45 Crown Street • New Haven, CT 06510 • 203.785.0468

Miguel Zenon

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A native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Miguel Zenón studied saxophone at the famed Escuela Libre de Musica; an institution that boasts distinguished alumnus throughout the musical world. Although Zenón was exposed to jazz while in high school, it wasn’t until he began his studies at the Berklee School of Music that his formal jazz training began.

Zenón excelled at Berklee and received numerous awards and honors. It was also during this time period that he became active in the Boston area jazz scene and gained professional experience with the drummer Bob Moses’ Mozamba and the Either/Orchestra. After graduating from Berklee, Zenón received a scholarship to attend Manhattan School of Music and in 2001, he received a Masters in Saxophone Performance. The distinguished list of educators he has studied with include: Angel Marrero, Leslie Lopez, Rafael Martinez, Danilo Perez, Dick Oatts, Dave Liebman, George Garzone and Bill Pierce.

In his relatively short, but rather illustrious career, the 30 year old Zenón has performed and/or recorded with a quite a diverse array of artists including: David Sanchez, Danilo Perez, Charlie Haden, The Village Vanguard Orchestra, Bobby Hutcherson, Jason Lindner, Guillermo Klein y Los Guachos, The Mingus Big Band, Brian Lynch, Ray Barretto, Steve Coleman and Branford Marsalis, among others.

Perhaps one his most important collaborations began in 2004, when Zenón was asked to become one of the founding members of the SF Jazz Collective; an octet whose past and present members include: Joshua Redman, Bobby Hutcherson, Nicholas Peyton, Joe Lovano, Dave Douglas and Brian Blade. The members, who participate in a residency period where they workshop and rehearse new music, divide their time (roughly two months) between composing, performing and teaching. The SF Jazz Collective has toured in the US, Canada, Asia, and Europe and to date, have released four critically acclaimed live recordings garnering them a coveted spot in the Downbeat Critic’s Poll Rising Star Small Group category in both 2006 and 2007 – an honor which, coincidentally, they shared with Zenón’s own quartet.

As a leader, Zenón has released three recordings—with a fourth, Awake, on its way in April 2008. Looking Forward, his debut CD was selected by the New York Times as the number one independent jazz record of 2002. In 2004, after being one of the first artists signed to Marsalis Music, he released the critically acclaimed Ceremonial. This same year also marked the beginning of three consecutive years on the top of the Downbeat Critic’s Poll in the Rising Star Alto Sax category; as well as three consecutive nominations by Jazz Journalist Association for Best New Jazz Artist. In 2005, Zenón was honored by Billboard magazine, as one of the “Faces to Watch-- 30 Under 30: Top Young Acts and Executives.” Zenón also released Jibaro, a tribute to the "Musica Jibara" of Puerto Rico and commissioned by a grant from the New York State Council of the Arts. Like his previous recordings, Jibaro was uniformly well received and appeared on many top ten lists including The New York Times, Latin Beat, El Nueva Dia, and the Chicago Tribune. In 2006, the readers of Jazz Times Magazine voted him the Best New Artist of the Year.

In addition to touring extensively throughout the US and Europe with his quartet, Zenón has made teaching a priority in his professional career. In 2003, as part of the Kennedy Center’s Jazz Ambassador’s Program, Zenón’s quartet was selected to teach and perform throughout West Africa. Since then he as done master classes, clinics and/or residencies in such diverse institutions as the Banff Centre, University of Manitoba, LeMoyne College, UMASS-Amherst, the Brubeck Institute, Manhattan School of Music and the Diaz Institute. Zenón also serves as a private saxophone instructor at The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York.

Firehouse 12 Performances

Miguel Zenon Quartet Friday, May 9, 2008, 10:00p

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