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Miguel Zenón/Vijay Iyer @ Berklee, 12/9/11

A double-bill features two of today's best

The Celebrity Series of Boston on December 9 brought Miguel Zenón and Vijay Iyer and their bands to Berklee Performance Center for separate sets featuring two of the jazz world’s most celebrated and talented youngish stars.

Zenón and his longtime quartet went first and stuck to a program drawn entirely from his album Alma Adentro: The Puerto Rican Songbook, minus the 10-piece backing horn ensemble on the CD. (Coincidentally, Alma Adentro was that same day named best jazz album of 2011 by NPR’s “A Blog Supreme.”) They began with Zenón’s arrangement of Rafael Hernández’s “Silencio,” Zenón and his alto saxophone having no trouble setting the tune’s mesmerizing melody in motion despite the absence of the extra horns. Zenón also took the first solo, bopping from foot to foot as it built toward a controlled frenzy of a climax. Pianist Luis Perdomo followed with something more straightforwardly lyrical, and bassist Hans Glawischnig and drummer Henry Cole kept the complex rhythms churning in precision throughout. There was a certain genius, one might say, to how the musicians kept chopping up that hypnotic melody together on their last few passes through it, the seeming randomness of the interruptions to the oft-repeated line executed casually and cleanly.

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