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Miguel Zenon Quartet at 36th Annual Chicago Jazz Festival

Hrayr Attarian By

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Miguel Zenon Quartet
Millenium Park, Jay Pritzker Pavilion
36th Annual Chicago Jazz Festival
Chicago, IL
August 31st 2014

The last evening of the festival was pleasantly warm and mild and the millennium park, around the Jay Pritzker Pavilion band shell was packed with people. The Frank Gehry designed signature stainless steel headdress with its custom designed sound system to replicate impeccable indoor acoustics has been the new home of the festival for the past two years. It is here that that alto saxophonist and composer Miguel Zenón lead his quartet for 55 awe inspiring minutes in front of the giant simulcast screen.

Zenón played three pieces from his ninth album as a leader Identities are Changeable due on November 4th 2014 on Miel Music. Pianist Luis Perdomo's energetic and intriguing rhythmic vamps opened the modal "Through Culture and Tradition." Zenón's acerbic, wailing saxophone built a complex, agile and melodic improvisation that boiled with passion and glided with lithe elegance. Perdomo's own solo featured intricately woven, blues tinged lines that cascaded over bass and drums' rock solid support.

On the mellifluous yet subtly mordant "Same Fight" the rhythm trio's rumbling refrains set an expectant mood that buoyed Zenón's serpentine, lyrical yet restive flight of spontaneity. Perdomo's flowing chords brought a deep sense of impressionistic romanticism while bassist Hans Glawischnig's tense and thrilling dexterity added a crisp athletic edge to the tune.

Zenón closed the set with a display of breathtaking acrobatics as he climbed up and down scale with impeccable virtuosity, crisp alacrity and plenty of soul. The piece also shed the spotlight on drummer Eric Doob's fiery, electrifying polyrhythms as he handled his kit with raw dynamism and sophisticated vigor.

The audience, who had been a bit restless just before the concert, as they fetched food, drinks and other concessions, was mesmerized at its conclusion as they burst into emphatic applause. If this captivating show was any indication Identities are Changeable promises to be a provocative and enthralling disc.

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