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Saxophonist/Composer Miguel Zenón Awarded $500,000 MacArthur Fellowship

Miguel Zenón, a young jazz saxophonist and composer, is among the recipients of the 2008 MacArthur Fellowship, a cash award of $500,000. Zenón, like all other recipients of the prize, learned about the no-strings-attached award during an “out of the blue” telephone call. He was unaware that he was being considered for the honor, and was not told who had chosen him to receive it.

According to a press release, Zenón is described as “a musician who is expanding the boundaries of Latin and jazz music through his elegant and innovative musical collages. As both a saxophonist and a composer, Zenón demonstrates an astonishing mastery of old and new jazz idioms, from Afro-Caribbean and Latin American rhythmical concepts to free and avant-garde jazz. Beginning with his 2001 recording Looking Forward, Zenón has exhibited a high degree of daring and sophistication in the manipulation of conventional jazz forms. His third album, Jíbaro (2005), illuminates his intense engagement with the indigenous music of his native Puerto Rico.”

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