All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

6

Miguel Zenon: Yo Soy La Tradicion

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
As a rule, it is best to encounter a piece of music with an appreciation of its provenance. For jazz listeners, even though the act of listening is an exercise in discovery, roots are rarely an issue. That is, until an artist delivers something novel. Such is the case with Yo Soy La Tradicion by saxophonist Miguel Zenon. The Guggenheim and MacArthur Foundation Fellowships recipient was commissioned in 2016 by the Hyde Park Jazz Festival to compose a suite for saxophone and string ensemble Spektral Quartet. This recording melds modern music with the folk traditions of Puerto Rico, reaching far into the island to mine its cultural, musical, and religious traditions.

Is the music classical? Yes. But it is also jazz, and folk. Zenón, born in Puerto Rico, was first trained in classical music before entering Boston's Berklee College Of Music. His jazz career has always incorporated the Latin sounds of his birthplace, but Zenón has continually dug deeper into his native culture for inspiration and novel approaches to composition. With the Spektral Quartet, he reveals the gentle side of his kinsmen from a religious and mostly rural perspective. The disc opens with "Rosario," or the ritual recitation of the rosary in the Catholic church. Spoken, it is almost a mantra, but in music the sounds animate the sequence of prayer. Zenón holds these folk traditions in the highest regard by framing them into this classical chamber presentation. "Cadenas" (or "chains") works around the concept of the tug, with a back-and-forth dance of strings against Spanish and African music. Like most Caribbean cultures, Puerto Rico has endured invasions and colonization, with its people adapting and incorporating influences from the Netherlands, France, Spain, Africa, and Britain. What we discover of the rural culture is the true gift here. Much is centered around the church as in "Milagrosa," or a prayer to the Virgin Mary, and "Promesa," a celebration of the Three Kings, or wise men. Zenón maintains a rhythm and buoyancy in these compositions that is infectious and welcoming. The musicians set aside their instruments midway on "Cadenza" to handclap a Flamenco pulse before returning to plucked strings and melody. Yo Soy La Tradicion is a gift and discovery of a people and a sacred folklore.

Track Listing: Rosario; Cadenas; Yumac; Milagrosa; Viejo; Cadenza; Promesa; Villalbeno.

Personnel: Miguel Zenon: alto saxophone; Clara Lyn: violin; Maeve Feineberg: violin; Doyle Armbrust: viola; Russell Rolan: cello.

Title: Yo Soy La Tradicion | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Miel Music

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
In Pictures
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Tipico

Tipico

Miel Music
2017

buy
Identities Are Changeable

Identities Are...

Miel Music
2015

buy
Identities Are Changeable

Identities Are...

Miel Music
2014

buy
 

Oye!!! - Live In...

Point of Departure, WMPG-FM
2013

buy

Related Articles

Read Fat Daddy CD/LP/Track Review
Fat Daddy
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 19, 2018
Read Short Stories CD/LP/Track Review
Short Stories
by Gareth Thompson
Published: September 19, 2018
Read UHHM CD/LP/Track Review
UHHM
by John Bricker
Published: September 19, 2018
Read Decoy CD/LP/Track Review
Decoy
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 19, 2018
Read Paul Heller Meets Roman Schwaller CD/LP/Track Review
Paul Heller Meets Roman Schwaller
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Change In The Air CD/LP/Track Review
Change In The Air
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 18, 2018
Read "Planktonic Finales" CD/LP/Track Review Planktonic Finales
by John Sharpe
Published: November 2, 2017
Read "Reunion" CD/LP/Track Review Reunion
by Don Phipps
Published: November 27, 2017
Read "The Subject Tonight Is Love" CD/LP/Track Review The Subject Tonight Is Love
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 31, 2018
Read "The Questions" CD/LP/Track Review The Questions
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 20, 2018
Read "Memories of Maynard" CD/LP/Track Review Memories of Maynard
by Nicholas F. Mondello
Published: February 20, 2018
Read "Transcendence" CD/LP/Track Review Transcendence
by Glenn Astarita
Published: August 27, 2018