Miguel Zenón Quartet: Esta Plena
Miguel Zenón: Esta Plena
Night two of Miguel Zenón’s residency features Zenón’s telepathic quartet augmented by percussion master Héctor “Tito” Matos’ Viento de Agua ensemble, and focuses on the rhythmically-charged material from the leader’s fusion of jazz and Puerto Rican folk music, Esta Plena. In 1998, Zenón won a Guggenheim Fellowship and a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant, which allowed the saxophonist and composer the freedom to create without financial restrictions. The result was an extensive exploration of Zenón’s roots and a study of plena, a genre of music and dance indigenous to Puerto Rico that the composer describes as “a by-product of Spanish Colonization, combining African rhythmic syncopations with European harmonies and melodic cadences.” A folkloric style born in the poverty-stricken barrios of southern Puerto Rico, plena has always been an outlet for social commentary and criticism – aspects which directly parallel the development of jazz at the start of the 20th century. Seeing the shared African influences in plena and jazz, Zenón found a natural blend between the disciplines, and this infectious, exciting and deeply personal project was born.
About Miguel Zenón
A founding member of the SFJAZZ Collective, Miguel Zenón is the most celebrated altoist of his generation, a multi Grammy nominee and Guggenheim and MacArthur “Genius” Fellow who has extended jazz’s conceptual reach with a series of albums exploring the music of his native Puerto Rico. Deepening his relationship with SFJAZZ as a Resident Artistic Director, Zenón presents a series of projects that showcase his ever-expanding vision as a composer inspired by West Africa and an ingenious interpreter of the folkloric and popular music of Puerto Rico.