Multiple Grammy nominee and 2008 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 one of the most groundbreaking and influential saxophonists of his generation, he has also developed a unique voice as a composer and conceptualist, concentrating his efforts on perfecting a fine mix of Latin American folkloric music and jazz.
Born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Zenón has released ten recordings as a leader, including Típico (2017) and the Grammy nominated Identities Are Changeable (2014). As a sideman he has worked with jazz luminaries such as the SFJAZZ Collective, Charlie Haden, Fred Hersch, Kenny Werner, David Sánchez, Danilo Pérez, the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Guillermo Klein and Los Guachos, The Jeff Ballard Trio, Antonio Sánchez, David Gilmore, Paoli Mejias, Brian Lynch, Jason Lindner, Miles Okazaki, Ray Barreto, Andy Montañez, Jerry González and The Fort Apache Band, the Mingus Big Band, Bobby Hutcherson, and Steve Coleman. As a composer, Zenón has been commissioned by SFJAZZ, New York State Council for the Arts, Chamber Music America, Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, Hyde Park Jazz Festival, John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, JazzReach, PEAK Performances at Montclair State University, PRISM Quartet, and by many of his peers.
Zenón has been featured in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, as well as gracing the cover of Downbeat twice (2010 and 2014). In addition, he topped both the Artist of the Year and Alto Saxophonist categories on the 2014 JazzTimes’ Critics Poll and was selected as 2015 Alto Saxophonist of the Year by the Jazz Journalist Association.
Zenón has given lectures and master classes at institutions around the world and is a faculty member at the New England Conservatory of Music. In 2011, he founded Caravana Cultural, a program that presents free jazz concerts in rural areas of Puerto Rico.