Exposé Online banner

Miguel Zenón — Yo Soy la Tradición
(Miel Music, 2018, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2018-12-06

Yo Soy la Tradición Cover art

I’ve heard a couple of Miguel Zenón’s previous albums, but while they were good efforts, neither prepared me for this wonderful recording. Zenón is a saxophonist and composer from Puerto Rico, and Yo Soy la Tradición is a set of eight tunes arranged for sax and string quartet. This kind of venture is full of risk, combining a lead instrument that engages in improvisation and a backing that must be largely composed. All I can say is that Zenón succeeds on every level. The string parts are wonderful, ranging from languid melodic parts harmonized like something from the first quarter of the 20th Century (Ravel or Debussy, perhaps) to rhythmic parts with a latin touch (sophisticated Piazzolla maybe) to pointillistic parts with a hint of minimalism. In all cases, this is not the work of a dabbler or dilettante — this is seriously good writing for a traditional grouping of instruments. The performances are spirited, with the Spektral Quartet attacking the material vigorously without a hint of the stiffness that sometimes mars the performances when classically trained musicians attempt music with touches of jazz. And then there’s Zenón’s sax playing, which is also a joy to listen to. He is fluid and imaginative, expressive without being overwrought, and manages to fit acrobatic flights into the unexpected context. He occasionally brings a little grit to his tone, though there’s no squawking here. I’ve listened to Yo Soy la Tradición maybe a dozen times so far, and I’ve enjoyed every moment of it, noticing new twists and subtleties with every repetition.


Filed under: New releases, 2018 releases

Related artist(s): Miguel Zenón

More info
http://store.cdbaby.com/cd/miguelzenon4

Latest news

2020-02-18
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more

2020-01-15
Carlos Alvarado RIP – Carlos Alvarado, pioneering composer, multi-instrumentalist and pioneer of progressive rock and electronic experimental music in Mexico, passed away January 14th, 2020 at age 68 after a two year battle with cancer.  » Read more

2020-01-12
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more

2020-01-12
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O. - Have You Seen the Other Side of the Sky? – Makoto Kawabata and his band of madmen have been recording as Acid Mothers Temple for several years and their catalog is enormous. Many of their releases are long, unlistenable, cacophonous assaults....  (2007) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues