Miguel Zenón – Identities Are Changeable

Nationality, melting pot culture and art come together in Miguel Zenon’s Identities Are Changeable (Miel Music, 2014). It’s billed as an extended musical work for large ensemble about national identity as experienced by the Puerto Rican community in the New York City area. It’s also a spoken word testimony to that experience.

The Miguel Zenon Quartet consists of Zenon, alto saxophone; Luis Perdomo, piano; Hans Glawischnig, bass; and Henry Cole, drums. The “Identities” Big Band members are Will Vinson and Michael Thomas, alto saxophones; Samir Zarif and John Ellis, tenor saxophones; Chris Cheek, baritone saxophone; Mat Jodrel, Michael Rodriguez, Alex Norris and Jonathan Powell, trumpets; and Ryan Keberle, Alan Ferber and Tim Albright, trombones.

One of the voices heard in the opening track, “De Donde Vienes? (Overture),” is that of Sonia Manzano, whom many will recognize as Maria, a character on the children’s television program Sesame Street. She and others introduce themselves, say a little something about their experience, all over the back drop of a big jazz band playing something that’s part Latin, part symphonic.

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