We have more time to listen to music and it's such a relief from the headlines snd baseless accusations that fill the air every day in the United States.
In September of 2020, Zenón and Perdomo recorded a concert in the New York City venue the Jazz Gallery that was presented online in November. Both musicians felt that the music was so good that the concert should be shared with a larger audience. "El Arte Del Bolero" (Miel Music) features six songs, all taken from the Puerto Rican songbook of the 1940s-70s. Richly melodic, the program flows forward on the strength of classic Puerto Rican songs, Perdomo's delightful accompaniment and Zenón's singing saxophone. When you listen to the opening "Como Fue", it's easy to get lost in the flowing melody lines, the fine piano work, and the emotional performance. "Alma Adentro" is not only a song that the saxophonist's loved growing up but also served as the title track of a large ensemble album Zenón released in 2011. The unaccompanied alto sax intro sets the stage for a stunning reading of the piece. How both musicians use the occasional silence to create tension is quite amazing.
|Photo: Noah Shaye|
The album goes from one beautiful moment to the next. "La Vidas es un Sueño" ("Life is a Dream"), composed by the Cuban-born guitarist and composer Arsenio Rodriguez (1911-1970). The melody line may remind some of Nat King Cole's classic "Mona Lisa" –– this version expands upon the ballad with fine, emotionally rich, solos.
|Photo: Nick Carter|
For more information and to purchase the music, go to https://miguelzenon.bandcamp.com/album/el-arte-del-bolero.
Guitarist, composer, painter, and educator, Gabriel Vicéns has been playing and studying music since he was 12. Born and raised just outside of San Juan, Puerto Rico, he heard all sorts of music, from his island's native "folklorico" to alternative rock to "pop" music to classical. Vicéns studied at the Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico, taught music at the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico, and then moved to the United States where he earned a Masters of Music degree from Queens College (NYC). Currently, he's studying for a Doctorate of Musical Arts from Stony Brook University in the program currently run by trombonist Ray Anderson and Daria Semegen. Vicéns is also an accomplished painter, continuing his studies in New York City with Pat Lipsky. Besides jazz, the guitarist also composes classical music, working with Carlos Cabrer and Lois V. Vierk.
Inner Circle Music). His third recording is imminent (1/15/21). Co-produced by Zenón, "The Way We Are Created" (Inner Circle) finds the guitarist leading a sextet that includes Glenn Zaleski (piano), Rick Rosato (bass), E.J. Strickland (drums), Roman Filiú (alto saxophone), and Victor Pablo (percussion including barril de bomba and panderos de plena). While previous recordings featured percussion, the music for the new CD was written from the rhythms up. The program is exciting, rolling forward on the playing of both Pablo and Strickland as well as the enticing melodies Vicéns created for the various folkloric rhythms.
The temptation to talk about every track is hard to ignore but you should go to https://gabrielvicens.bandcamp.com/album/the-way-we-are-created and listen to the title track (also check the "live" version from 2017 below). That should whet your appetite for all of "The Way We Are Created" –– Gabriel Vicéns has created a thoughtful, exciting, and powerful program, music that should sound and feel quite fine in a live setting (whenever that may come around again). In the meantime, dive headfirst into this delightful disk!
For more information about this impressive young artist, go to www.gabrielvicens.com/.
Here's the live take of the opening album track –– the sextet features Vicéns and Filiú plus pianist Sam Harris, bassist Ricky Rodriguez, drummer Rudy Royston, and percussionist Markus Schwartz.
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