Miguel Zenón And Dafnis Prieto On JazzSet Saxophonist Miguel Zenón (from Puerto Rico) and drummer Dafnis Prieto (from Cuba) have both resettled in the U.S., and are reworking the music of their islands in studios and on bandstands worldwide.

JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater

Miguel Zenón And Dafnis Prieto On JazzSetWBGO

Miguel Zenón And Dafnis Prieto On JazzSet

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/166674367/205407510" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

In 2008 and 2011, respectively, Miguel Zenón and Dafnis Prieto received MacArthur Fellowships — known as "Genius Grants" — from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. They were cited for their achievements in expanding boundaries and combining vocabularies. And you can hear them in action from Newport on JazzSet.

First, Zenón and co-composer Laurent Coq lead a quartet in music from their new suite Rayuela (in English: hopscotch). It's named for the 1966 novel by Julio Cortázar. The author is fascinating himself: He was born in Brussels in 1914 and raised in Argentina; he then worked in Paris as a translator for UNESCO, wrote literature and played trumpet. He died in 1984.

Miguel Zenón loves every page in Cortázar's imaginative, stream-of-consciousness book (which the novelist suggested could be read from front to back or by hopscotching through the chapters). The movements in the musical suite are for various characters and locations, and we hopscotch through three. The complete Rayuela suite is on the new album from the Sunnyside label.

Around the turn of the century, Dafnis Prieto "came over from Cuba and promptly placed every rhythm section in New York City on notice," writes Patrick Jarenwattananon of NPR Music. The drummer's rhythmic embrace is global: In 2011, he taught and studied for six weeks at the Swarnabhoomy Academy of Music near Chennai in India. His drumming is high-energy, sunny and polyrhythmic, yet there's more than rhythm in his writing for this ensemble. The three-horn harmony and lines provide some of the greatest listening pleasures.

With funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (Doris Duke herself liked to go to Newport), the 2012 edition of the Newport Jazz Festival commissioned Prieto to compose "Two for One." Before and after the commission, the band plays from his album Taking the Soul for a Walk on Dafnison Music.

Zenón Set List

  • "Talita"
  • "Traveler"
  • "El Club de la Serpiente"

All music by Coq and Zenón.

Zenón Personnel

  • Miguel Zenón, alto saxophone
  • Laurent Coq, piano
  • Dana Leong, cello and trombone
  • Dan Weiss, percussion and tablas

Prieto Set List

  • "The Sooner the Better"
  • "Two for One"
  • "Until the Last Minute"

All music by Prieto.

Prieto Personnel

  • Dafnis Prieto, drums
  • Ralph Alessi, trumpet
  • Felipe Lamoglia, alto saxophone
  • Peter Apfelbaum, tenor sax and melodica
  • Manuel Valera, piano
  • Yunior Terry, bass

Credits

Recording Engineers: Antonio Oliart and David Tallacksen with Michael Downes; Assistant Surround Sound mixes by Antonio Oliart and Duke Markos.

[+] read more[-] less

More From Jazz

Massimo Photographe/Courtesy of the artist

Lorraine Desmarais On Piano Jazz

The award-winning jazz artist performs original compositions and a set of standards during this 1991 episode.

Lorraine Desmarais On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/575768260/575921729" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

This year, we bade farewell to avant-garde pioneer Muhal Richard Abrams. Michael Hoefner/Wikipedia hide caption

toggle caption Michael Hoefner/Wikipedia

'Jazz Night In America' Remembers Artists We Lost In 2017

WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center

Friends of our program honor a handful of departed artists, celebrating their lives in an episode filled with insight, humor and plenty of music.

'Jazz Night In America' Remembers Artists We Lost In 2017

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/572421441/572633580" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Frans Schellekens/Redferns/Getty Images

Don Pullen On Piano Jazz

The brilliant pianist played church music and R&B before joining Charles Mingus' band and forming his own quartet. He joins Marian McPartland for a song in this 1989 episode.

Don Pullen On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/570834686/570846392" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

The Jazz at Lincoln Center's annual Big Band Holiday concert, performed on December 13th, 2017. Lawrence Sumlong/Jazz at Lincoln Center hide caption

toggle caption Lawrence Sumlong/Jazz at Lincoln Center

The Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra Performs Big Band Holiday Classics

WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center

Watch the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and guest vocalists Catherine Russell and Kenny Washington perform soulful renditions of holiday classics from Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City.

Claudio Roditi, photographed in 1990. David Redfern/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption David Redfern/Getty Images

Claudio Roditi On Piano Jazz

The versatile trumpeter made his way from Brazil to the New York jazz scene in the 1970s. Hear him perform with host Marian McPartland in this 1996 episode.

Claudio Roditi On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/567716375/567717240" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Ellyn Rucker at Ivory's Piano Bar in Denver on Apr. 22, 1984. Duane Howell/Denver Post via Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Duane Howell/Denver Post via Getty Images

Ellyn Rucker On Piano Jazz

On this 1993 episode, the versatile vocalist and pianist joins host Marian McPartland to play the title song from her album This Heart Of Mine.

Ellyn Rucker On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/564710563/564713341" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Grover Washington Jr. performs on stage during the "One Night With Blue Note" concert in New York on Feb. 22, 1985. Anthony Barboza/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Anthony Barboza/Getty Images

How Grover Washington Jr. Defined And Transcended 'Smooth Jazz'

WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center

In this radio episode, Jazz Night in America takes you to a tribute concert honoring the late musician, whose soulful sound was more than just "smooth."

How Grover Washington Jr. Defined And Transcended 'Smooth Jazz'

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/564442111/564555947" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Back To Top