Jazz: Miguel Zenón Quartet

On Saturday, February 20, 2016, I attended Miller Theatre's last jazz concert of the season: the Miguel Zenón Quartet. The four-piece ensemble included Miguel Zenón on saxophone, Luis Perdomo on piano, Hans Glawischnig on bass, and Henry Cole, drums.

The show showcased Zenón's jazz compositions, which are an amalgam of Latin American folk influence and jazz. He was born and raised in Puerto Rico, is a multiple Grammy nominee, a Guggenheim Fellow, and a recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship (also known as the "Genius Grant.") As a bandleader, he's released 9 recordings.

Though jazz is not my specialty, which makes it difficult to critically appraise the works from an informed musical perspective, as a listener, I quite enjoyed the varied, nuanced mix of the four instrumentalists on stage. My only musical contention was that at times, the drumming seemed to overshadow, or rather, override what the other three instrumentalists were creating. The bass player, Glawischnig, (from Austria), delivered a few memorable, highly expressive solos, that kept the audience spellbound and happy. Particular attention should be paid to Luis Perdomo's piano playing, which was, in a word, magnificent. His improvisational mastery, combined with his technical elegance, gave the audience moments of elevated musical beauty. Born in Venezuela, he attended the Manhattan School of Music on a full scholarship and attained his Masters at Queens College. As a bandleader, he's released seven acclaimed recordings, including 22 (2015), Links (2013), and Universal Mind (2012.) In addition, his stage presence exuded a kind of understated belle époque grace that is rarely encountered these days.