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World Music CD Reviews Jazz

Miguel Zenon

By Ernest Barteldes
Published June 13, 2008

Marsalis Music

Under the careful direction of Branford Marsalis, this Puerto Rican-born alto saxo phonist has found the perfect balance between modern jazz and his island’s roots, creating music that goes in both directions without leaning too much towards one or the other. “Camarón” is a case in point, with the rhythm section keeping a solid Latin-inflected beat that lays the groundwork for Zenon’s freestyle improvisations, while “Penta” takes a stab at samba from an outsider’s angular point of entry. “Ulysses In Slow  experimental format, while “Awakening-Interlude” explores post-bop influences. Zenon also delves into cool-jazz territory on “Lamarilla,” which is enhanced by a string quartet and a beautiful Fender Rhodes solo by Luis Perdomomo. Although Marsalis himself does not play on any of the tracks, his presence is felt throughout, allowing the saxophone to be the star without drowning out the other instruments.