We are in a golden age of Latin jazz activity, and here's more proof.
Awake is the third project by the Puerto Rican saxophonist and like his earlier works, it's full of intelligence, bristling with knowledge. Zenon, like a pile of younger musicians, works the two sides of the Latin jazz equation like few people have before him, and at times he sounds like Charlie Parker - check out "Awakening" - and at other times he and his exceptional group, Luis Perdomo on piano, Hans Glawischnig on bass and Henry Cole on drums move into a rhythmic sophistication that owes its robustness directly to the Caribbean. Zenon uses a string quartet for two pieces, and on one track amplifies the group with trumpet, trombone and tenor saxophone. At times Zenon exemplifies the rhythmic and harmonic modernity that's rife in New York jazz circles, and he's followed by the always great Perdomo - listen to Perdomo's solo on "Ulysses in Slow Motion." Anyway, this is work that is changing the way jazz functions, and elevating the high mark on what's possible in the idiom. It's historic.
Highly Recommended. (Peter Watrous)
Peter Watrous writes for the NT Times and Washington Post, among others.