Miguel Zenón Quartet
Identities are Changeable
Identities are Changeable, Zenon's powerful new composition, is a song cycle for large ensemble, with his longtime quartet at the center, incorporating recorded voices from a series of interviews conducted by Zenon. Commissioned as a multi-media work by Montclair State University's Peak Performances series, it has a multi media element with audio and video footage from interviews, complemented by a video installation created by artist David Dempewolf. It's been performed at such prestigious venues as the New England Conservatory's Jordan Hall in Boston, the SFJAZZ Center in San Francisco, and Zankel Hall in the Carnegie Hall complex in New York City.
The album version of Identities are Changeable is a labor of love, produced by Miguel Zenon without commercial backing.
The core of Identities are Changeable is a series of English-language interviews Miguel Zenon conducted with seven New Yorkers of Puerto Rican descent. His initial impetus for the project came from reading The Diaspora Strikes Back: Caribeno Tales of Learning and Turning, a book by cultural theorist Juan Flores based on interviews with Puerto Ricans who had returned to the island after living on the mainland. Zenon turned the tables and interviewed Flores, whose insightful commentary grounds Zenon's finished work.
Multiple Grammy Nominee and Guggenheim and MacArthur Fellow Miguel Zenón represents a select group of musicians who have masterfully balanced and blended the often contradictory poles of innovation and tradition. Widely considered as one of the most groundbreaking and influential saxophonists of his generation, he has also developed a unique voice as a composer and as a conceptualist, concentrating his efforts on perfecting a fine mix between Latin American Folkloric Music and Jazz.
Born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Zenón has released eight recordings as a leader including Oye!!! Live in Puerto Rico (2013) and the Grammy Nominated Alma Adentro (2011) . As a sideman he has worked with jazz luminaries such as The SFJAZZ Collective, Charlie Haden, Fred Hersch, Kenny Werner, David Sánchez, The Mingus Big Band, Bobby Hutcherson and Steve Coleman. Zenón has been featured in articles on publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, as well as gracing the cover of Downbeat Magazine. He has also toped the Rising Star Alto Sax category of the Downbeat Critic's Poll on four different occasions and was chosen by both the 2012 Jazz Times Reader's and Critic's Poll as the top Alto Saxophonist of the year.
As a composer he has been commissioned by SFJAZZ, The New York State Council for the Arts, Chamber Music America, The John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, and many of his peers. Zenón has given hundreds of lectures and master classes at institutions all over the world, and is a permanent faculty member at New England Conservatory of Music. In 2011 he founded Caravana Cultural, a program which presents free - of -charge Jazz concerts in rural areas of Puerto Rico. In April 2008 Zenón received a fellowship from the prestigious John Simon Guggenheim Foundation. Later that year he was one of 25 distinguished individuals chosen to receive the coveted MacArthur Fellowship, also known as the “Genius Grant”