Miguel Zenón opened a weekend-long residency at the Jazz Standard with his quartet last Thursday night in support of his latest release, Alma Adentro: The Puerto Rican Soundbook. An anticipated record, coming after his 2008 MacArthur “genius grant”, it’s both ambitious yet cautious—interesting arrangements conveying familiar melodies. In person, however, the record came alive. Sylvia Rexach’s “Alma Adentro” was especially lyrical and “Perfume de Gardenias,” by Rafael Hernández, contained a sinewy slow march that bound the piece between animated flourishes. Perhaps even more compelling than Zenón’s brilliant phrasing was his drummer, Henry Cole.
During Tite Alonso’s “Tiemblas” he was a kinetic force, bending from subtlety to vigor with aplomb.