About Berklee Masters on the Road and The Checkout
Berklee's Masters on the Road series continues with Guggenheim and MacArthur Fellow, alumnus, composer, and jazz saxophonist Miguel Zenon leading a student ensemble at Birdland in New York and The Red Room @ Cafe 939 in Boston. The student group includes pianist Alec Shulman from Los Angeles, California; trumpeter Bastien Rieser from Munich, Germany; bassist from Caesarea, Israel; and drummer Roni Kaspi from Tel Aviv, Israel. Edmar Colon, assistant professor of woodwinds, selected the students by audition, and is rehearsing them in Zenon’s chosen repertoire throughout the fall and spring semesters. Zenon will meet with the ensemble multiple times before the public performances so the players could perform their set with him in advance of the dates.
Zenon has selected a repertoire for this project which encompasses the last ten years of his successful recording and touring career. Pieces from records such as Awake, Esta Plena, Rayuela, and Identities Are Changeable create a wonderful space and opportunity for students to be showcased in the music of this brilliant saxophonist and composer.
About Miguel Zenón
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 twelve recordings as a leader, including the Grammy Nominated Yo Soy La Tradición (2018) and Típico (2017), as well as his latest, Sonero: The Music of Ismael Rivera (2019). As a sideman he has worked with jazz luminaries such as The SFJAZZ Collective, Charlie Haden, Fred Hersch, Kenny Werner, David Sánchez, Danilo Perez, The Village Vanguard Orchestra, Guillermo Klein & Los Guachos, The Jeff Ballard Trio, Antonio Sanchez, David Gilmore, Paoli Mejias, Brian Lynch, Jason Lindner, Miles Okazaki, Ray Barreto, Andy Montañez, Jerry Gonzalez & The Fort Apache Band, The Mingus Big Band, Bobby Hutcherson and Steve Coleman.
Zenón has been featured in publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe and The Chicago Tribune. In addition, he topped both the Jazz Artist of the Year and Alto Saxophonist categories on the 2014 Jazz Times Critics Poll and was selected as the Alto Saxophonist of the Year by the Jazz Journalist Association in 2015, 2018 and 2019.
As a composer he has been commissioned by SFJAZZ, NYO Jazz, The New York State Council for the Arts, Chamber Music America, Logan Center for The Arts, The Hyde Park Jazz Festival, The John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, MIT, Jazz Reach, Peak Performances, PRISM Quartet 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”.