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Concert Review: Miguel Zenón at the SFJAZZ Center, May 22-25

Respecting the past, and moving forward

Miguel Zenón (right) and Danilo Pérez, SFJAZZ Center, San Francisco 5-14
Luciana Souza, SFJAZZ Center, San Francisco 5-14
Miguel Zenón and Pedrito Martinez, SFJAZZ Center, San Francisco 5-14

Luciana Souza was teaching at the Berklee College of Music when Miguel Zenón arrived there from his native Puerto Rico in 1996, and she remembers all the talk the new student was soon generating in the college’s hallways. “We all knew that there was someone who would change jazz,” she told the audience from the Miner Auditorium stage at SFJAZZ Center, where she was performing with Zenón’s longtime quartet on the third night of Zenón’s recent four-night residency there.

That hallway gossip looked prescient throughout Zenón’s run at San Francisco’s sparkling 18-month-old answer to New York’s Jazz at Lincoln Center. The alto saxophonist was wrapping up his second and final season as one of the Center’s handful of resident artistic directors (Bill Frisell, John Santos, Regina Carter and Jason Moran are the others), and he used the occasion to focus on Latin Americans and jazz, with the help of a series of special guests.

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