Native New Yorker, saxophonist and composer Andrew Gould has established himself as one of the most in demand players on the NYC music scene.

He has performed with James Moody, Benny Golson, Wallace Roney, Jon Faddis, The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, the Mambo Legends Orchestra, David Weiss, Ray Vega, Bobby Sanabria, Ricky Rodriguez and many more. He was a 2013 Thelonious Monk Saxophone Competition Semi-Finalist and has recorded for MTV, Universal Music, Warner Bros Music, and Capitol Records for world-famous artists including Fifth Harmony, Mac Miller and more. He has also performed live on the Today Show, ABC News, WBGO Radio, and at Winter Jazzfest, The Charlie Parker Jazz Festival, Bermuda Jazz Festival, and many others. He has toured extensively around the world performing all over the U.S.A including Hawaii, as well as Bermuda, Europe, Asia, and Canada.

A graduate of both Manhattan School of Music and SUNY Purchase, Andrew continues to teach regularly, giving both private lessons and masterclasses to students of all levels.

Recent projects include a world premiere performance and studio recording of Wayne Shorter’s “Universe” with the Wallace Roney Orchestra, horn section work and collaborations with Grammy-winning hip-hop producer 88 Keys, writing for and touring worldwide with funk/jazz group Nuf Said – 2nd album “Rise” recently released on Ropeadope Records, and performing/recording with pianist Steven Feifke in his Septet and Big Band. Andrew continues to compose for and perform with his own group and plans on releasing his debut album “First Things First“ in March 2018 on Outside In Music.

Andrew is an endorsing artist with Yanagisawa Saxophones, D’Addario Reeds, and Silverstein Ligatures.

Gould’s debut album is a collection of music that I’ve composed in the past few years in my experiences living and working as a professional saxophonist in New York City. It demonstrates a wide variety of styles and sounds that represent my main influences and what inspires me the most as an artist. It spans from straight-ahead jazz in both quartet and quintet form, to funk/rnb with some more electric sounds, as well as vocals. Working in NYC requires you to be extremely versatile and flexible as a musician, but the most important thing regardless of what style you find yourself in is to always have your own voice and approach that you can apply to any scenario. That’s what I tried to do with the music on this album.

Some music is more geared towards straight-ahead jazz, but there are a few tracks and moments where stylings shift towards funk, rnb and electronic sounds (track 3 “Cool Off” and track 5 “R Train”) as well as track 7 “On a Darker Moon” which features vocalist Ioana Vintu singing the melody as I take more supportive role in embellishing and falling behind her.

“First Things First” is a composition I wrote based on the blues that is partially inspired by one of my favorite John Coltrane compositions – Mr. Day. I think all of jazz and it’s cousin genres – funk and rnb started with the blues, and this is why I called this tune “First things First”. Other original compositions “Mumbo Jumbo”, “Rickshaw” feature trumpet player Scott Wendholt who is one of my favorite trumpet players on the scene today. He has an unbelievable musicality as well as a super unique and personal approach to playing. Those 2 songs, along with “Destination” are also inspired by my heroes John Coltrane and Joe Henderson, who both have an enormous influence on how and why I play music.

“7am” is a favorite of my original tunes, and is titled so because I literally finished writing it at 7 in the morning. To me it also kind of sonically represents that morning NYC hustle of running to the crowded subway station and rushing to wherever you have to go.

“Song for Millie” is a ballad that I wrote and was inspired by a friends dog, named Millie. I took care of Millie for a week, and she was one of the kindest, gentlest little dogs. She was super timid, but also very affectionate and sweet once she warmed up to you.

Copyright © 2018 Kari-On Productions, All rights reserved.


DAVE HOLLAND Reunites With EVAN PARKER for Freewheeling 2-CD / 3-LP Set, Also Featuring CRAIG TABORN and CHES SMITH Out May 11 on Dare2 Records

Bassist Dave Holland can set a groove in motion, whether he’s playing in 4/4 or a more uneven time signature. This skill can be felt in his quintet and big band ensembles in addition to more recent projects like Aziza (with guitarist Lionel Loueke, drummer Eric Harland and saxophonist Chris Potter) and Prism (with Harland, keyboardist Craig Taborn and guitarist Kevin Eubanks). But for the latest release on the bassist’s Dare2 imprint, Holland once again visits free improv, or as he prefers to call it, “open form improvisation.”

Uncharted Territories, which will be released in 2CD and 3LP formats, reunites him with saxophonist Evan Parker, a longtime friend from their early days in London. They’re joined by Craig Taborn, on piano and electronics, and Ches Smith on percussion. In addition to quartet improvisations, they also broke off into every possible subset of duo and trio configurations. The group also recorded two compositions by Smith and one by Holland. A resulting 23 tracks present a series of deep, multi-layered conversations between the musicians, some of whom were interacting for the first time.

Back in the mid-1960s, Holland and Parker (who plays tenor saxophone exclusively on this set) crossed paths in London’s fertile improvisation scene. Both had an affinity for the new directions in contemporary music of the time as well as interests that went on to include music from different cultures and sounds from nature. As members of the Spontaneous Music Ensemble, they both appeared on Karyōbin, (recently reissued on Emanem) before Holland moved to New York in 1968. There, the bassist recorded landmark albums with Miles Davis, Anthony Braxton and Sam Rivers. Despite the distance, the friendship with Parker continued, with performances on a few occasions throughout the years.

After Holland sat in with Parker’s trio at the Vortex in London, the two friends discussed the idea of recording together in New York during the spring of 2017. They originally planned to work as a duo, but Holland had the idea to invite Ches Smith (Tim Berne’s Snake Oil, Mary Halvorson Octet) to participate, having become enamored with the drummer’s unique playing and writing style demonstrated on his own recordings as a leader. He then extended the invitation to Craig Taborn, with whom he had wanted to work again, in this kind of open setting.

Though the others had played together, this is the first time Smith played with either Holland or Parker. The bassist knew instinctively that he would have a good musical relationship with Smith, who plays tympani and vibes in addition to his trap kit. “He has a great sense of moment in the music. In other words, he seems to know just when to end a piece,” Holland says of Smith. “Of course this decision was being made spontaneously by all of us. But he read those moments really beautifully.”

Smith brought his compositions “Thought on Earth” and “Unsteady as She Goes” to the session. The former in particular, reveals the lyrical side in Parker, over bowed bass and a rich texture of vibes and piano, before Smith adds tympani rolls and switches to a wild pulse on the trap kit.  Holland’s “Q+A” was also written prior to the recordings.

In “QT- 13,” Taborn makes the piano resonate further by placing a Bluetooth speaker, connected to his laptop, on the piano’s soundboard. Bouncing off of Smith’s vibes and Parker’s tenor, the effect sounds like some transmissions from Sun Ra. (Incidentally, the abbreviated code in the titles represent from the day of recordings — Tuesday or Wednesday — and the number of that particular take.)

Throughout his nine years with saxophonist Sam Rivers, Holland says the group always played open improvisation. Yet Unchartered Territories is the first album under his name to focus almost exclusively on spontaneous performances. All four musicians receive equal billing, though, due in great part to the wide range of resources and vocabulary that they bring to the music. For that reason, “this seemed to be a dream band for me,” Holland says.

Dave Holland’s Website

Evan Parker’s Website

SOURCE: Fully Altered Media 

Rudresh Mahanthappa named Best Alto Saxophonist in JazzTimes’ 2017 Expanded Critics’ Poll

Mahanthappa’s 2017 Indo-Pak Coalition recording Agrima earned acclaim as one of the best albums of 2017 from Rolling Stone, JazzTimes, The New York Times, NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll, Paste Magazine and more  

© Ethan Levitas
No private or public uses permitted without the expressed prior written permission from the Photographer and/or the Photographer’s duly authorized representative. © Ethan Levitas

Saxophonist and composer Rudresh Mahanthappa has been named “Best Alto Saxophonist” in the JazzTimes 2017 Expanded Critics Poll, published in the March 2018 issue.  For the poll, critics were asked to focus on artists’ achievements in 2017.  Mahanthappa also came in third in the “Electric/Jazz-Rock/Contemporary Group/Artist” category.

The voting came on the heels of Mahanthappa’s October 2017 recording Agrima with the Indo-Pak Coalition featuring Rez Abbasi on guitar and Dan Weiss on tabla. The recording earned numerous 4-star reviews and wide acclaim as one of the best albums of 2017 from Rolling Stone, The New York Times, NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll, Paste Magazine, JazzTimes and many others. The recording was released as a $2.50 download as well as a limited edition deluxe double LP via

“It is both humbling and rewarding to have my music recognized by some of the top jazz journalists in the world,” says Mahanthappa who in addition to performing and recording widely with his own bands, is the Director of Jazz at Princeton University.

Mahanthappa and the Indo-Pak Coalition will present two performances in March.

• Friday, March 16, 2018 at  8 p.m. – McCarter Theatre Center, Princeton, NJ

• Sunday, March 18 at 7:30 p.m. – Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA

Agrima is the long-awaited follow-up to the Indo-Pak Coalition’s 2008 recording Apti, which won praise from The Guardian for its “irresistible urgency.” The recording finds Mahanthappa and the group expanding aesthetic horizons: adding a modified drum set, incorporating effects and electronics, and working with a broader audio canvas overall.  The core of the band’s sound, the vibrant presence of Indian rhythmic and melodic elements in a charged, modern improvisational framework born of the New York jazz scene, remains firmly in place.

Agrima is a knockout. The Indo-Pak Coalition stack harmonies, textures, dynamics, and peerless rhythmic maneuvering throughout in dazzling combinations. They extend the rich history of Indo-jazz fusion beyond its historical conversational and dialogic boundaries to create a new meta-musical language of their own design.” AllMusic, Thom Jurek

“Influenced by both Indian folk and American rock, this blazing jazz trio creates an interplay that’s immediate with a texture that’s unique: Mahanthappa on sax, Rez Abassi on guitar and Dan Weiss splitting his time between tabla and drum kit, burning through glistening melodies. Mahanthappa plays in starts and stops, slow winds and bursts of tricky flurries, but he’ll also provide a harmonium-like drone when it’s time for Abassi to solo. With its hard-driving feel and a bit of distortion, the group’s latest record is just as quick to feel like indie-rock moodmakers Morphine (“Showcase”) or punk guitar heroes Television (“Agrima”).” Rolling Stone, Christopher R. Weingarten

“Mr. Mahanthappa writes along the divide between contemporary jazz and South Asian classical, always with a sense of acute direction and well-hewn architecture. But it’s his trio’s synergy that gives Agrima what it needs: possibility, irony, tenderness.” NY Times, Giovanni Russonello

The excitement here is large and wildly contagious.” The Buffalo News, Jeff Simon

“I’m going to spare you the comparisons to other jazz sax players and just flat-out say that Rudresh Mahanthappa is one of the best players today in terms of creativity and having a distinctive voice… Over the last 50 years, many artists have combined Indian music with jazz and rock, but nobody has done it quite like this. No matter what section of the store you file it in, Agrima is an outstanding release.” Expose, Jon Davis

“Mahanthappa uses his knife-like alto saxophone in many different contexts, but on this project he returns to that of an immigrant’s son trying to integrate his South Asian heritage into his beloved American jazz and rock. Working with guitarist Rez Abbasi and percussionist Dan Weiss, Mahanthappa employs his Charlie Parker-like speed, a tasteful dose of electronica and chameleonic themes that could thrive on either continent to fashion a triumphant fusion.” JazzTimes, Geoffrey Himes

“Mahanthappa achieves a remarkably orchestral palette with this session, featuring Rez Abbasi’s guitar and the drum/ table multiplicity of Dan Weiss. Certainly one of the most consistently exciting discs to emerge in the past year.” The World According to Rob, Robert Bush

“Indian music and NYC jazz isn’t a typical match of influences, and yet with his 2017 release Agrima, it’s as if the saxophonist has achieved a certain normalcy of presentation, to the point where an unconventional sound is as embraceable as taking your next breath. The core of Agrima is Indian music, sometimes as a melodic influence and other times imposing its will upon a piece rhythmically. But the house of the album is built with the raw materials of an indie-rock edge and contemporary grooves and electronic effects, and it’s why Agrima sits plumb with previous Mahanthappa recordings while also representing something new…Everything about this album is wonderful. And what it says about Mahanthappa’s willingness to refuse to sit still is promising as hell.” Bird is the Worm, Dave Sumner

“The core of the band’s sound, the vibrant presence of Indian rhythmic and melodic elements in a charged, modern improvisational framework born of the New York jazz scene, remains firmly in place, but Mahanthappa’s alto is transformed in places by software-driven effects to create strange processed timbres, echoes, decays and soundscapes.”, Sébastien Hélary

“The alto saxophonist’s wind-tunnel control and technique are as breathtaking as always. The themes are more distinctly Indian, and darker, and more ambitious. Guitarist Rez Abbasi takes his tunefulness to new levels. And let’s not stop with the music: let’s say the hell with imperialist historical smog and unite India with Pakistan.” New York Music Daily. Alan Young

“There isn’t another band quite like this…These are three distinct talents, unfettered in pursuit of the brutish beauty of their collective vision, like the Indo-jazz version of Cream. Nearly a decade between albums, but worth the wait.” JazzTimes, Britt Robson

“There is individual virtuosity, at almost every turn. But the larger point of this album is the transformation of materials in a process of real-time exchange—a meeting of minds and methods that takes no possibilities for granted.” NPR Music, Nate Chinen

“…The second recording by alto saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa and his Indo-Pak Coalition goes beyond South-Asian/Jazz fusion, incorporating drums, electronics, and a greater sense of power and adventure… As a result, the group reunites with a fresh attack and broader range of tools, not recreating the excellent debut but creating something wider and, to my ears, richer… Agrima is a remarkable step in Mahanthappa’s music because it takes his Indo-Pak Coalition and its music and makes us hear it and feel it as much more than an experiment in cross-cultural fusion. It is a pleasure to listen to these tracks and forget about the source of the melodies or the intelligence behind the musical melding of cultures. It impacts you more elementally than that: as great music that gives individual expression to three compelling personalities. And that’s what great jazz does every time out.” Pop Matters, Will Layman

“With Agrima, Mahanthappa continues his penchant for creating sounds that are forward-leaning yet highly accessible, all while honoring various traditions.” Jazziz, John Frederick Moore

“The music is often fierce, sometimes hypnotic. Mahanthappa’s searing saxophone careens over Weiss’ rock solid rhythm and Abbasi’s mesmeric guitar on “Rasikapriya.”  “Alap,” the brief opener, begins with Abbasi’s electro-sacred tone. Weiss’ tabla bubbles in, a luminescent sparkle of electronics paints a bright backdrop, and Mahanthappa’s saxophone offers up a tranquil prayer. Then it’s off into an insistent, cutting-edge, twenty-first century foray into the sounds of southern Asia—the deep roots—blended with the newer, growing roots of American jazz improvisation.” Allaboutjazz, Don McClenaghan

“Under the banner the Indo-Pak Coalition, the group intensely communicates joy and multi-textured sophistication. This is arresting music that takes plenty of chances yet feels entirely accessible, particularly for fans of jazz-rock fusion seeking something extraordinary.” The Denver Post, Bret Saunders

“If you’re a jazz fan who embraces music which has few boundaries, Mahanthappa, Weiss and Abbasi have created something you should hear.” Audiophile Audition, Doug Simpson

“This excellent album is like an elegant railway system linking jazz, folk, Hindustani, Pakistani Qawwali, Middle Eastern music and the chamber music style of the post-serialist and the avant-garde, 21st century conservatoire. If this sounds like quite a mouthful listeners will be delighted that despite the matrix of sound, the music is quite the distillation of it all in the singular voice of this Indo-Pak Coalition. Still, to describe it as such gives the impression of overcooking when in fact the whole project is a masterpiece of subtlety… Agrima is definitely worth its weight in gold.” JazzdaGama, Raul da Gama


Few musicians share the ability of alto saxophonist/composer Rudresh Mahanthappa to embody the expansive possibilities of his music with his culture. What has materialized is a sound that hybridizes progressive jazz and South Indian classical music in a fluid and forward-looking form that reflects Mahanthappa’s own experience growing up a second-generation Indian-American.

Hailed by the New York Times as possessing “a roving intellect and a bladelike articulation,” Mahanthappa has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship, and commissions from the Rockefeller Foundation MAP Fund, Chamber Music America and the American Composers Forum. He has been named alto saxophonist of the year for six of seven years running in DownBeat Magazine’s International Critics’ Polls (2011-2013, 2015-2017), and for five consecutive years by the Jazz Journalists’ Association (2009-2013) and again in 2016. He won alto saxophonist of the year in the 2016 and 2017 JazzTimes Magazine Critics’ Poll. In April 2013, he received a Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, one of the most prominent arts awards in the world. In 2015, he was named a United States Artists Fellow. In 2016, he was named the Director of Jazz and the Associate Director of the Program in Musical Performance at Princeton University.

Mahanthappa is a Yamaha artist and uses Vandoren reeds exclusively. 

SOURCE: Braithwaite & Katz

Prepare to be inspired when pianist David Ake explores the depths of his own personal insights to unlock the hidden possibilities of Humanities

Talented pianist David Ake brings an all-star lineup together on his stunningly intense new release Humanities. Ake’s musical concept continues to evolve as his evocative original compositions and arrangements are presented by several of the finest musicians on the scene today.

Serious listeners will delight in this captivating program that spotlights Ake playing in the front line alongside trumpet phenomenon Ralph Alessi and the virtuosic surprises of guitarist Ben Monder.

Its a sophisticated game of following the leader with Ake hanging with the heavy cats while never forgetting to keep it swinging steadily with the underlying support of bassist Drew Gress and percussive metrics of drummer Mark Ferber holding down the rhythm behind him. Prepare to be inspired when pianist David Ake explores the depths of his own personal insights to unlock the hidden possibilities of Humanities. ~Editorial Review | Amazon

Expected Release Date: March 16, 2018

Since 2005 they have been an integral part of his musical concepts. Held saw Glow as “a way to put the trio into a different context

When he recorded Glow with his 10-piece ensemble in 2010, “German piano wonder Pablo Held was only 23 years old…, but he had already earned his place in the pantheon of modern-day piano trio leaders…

As good as Held’s earlier albums are, they don’t hold a candle to ‘Glow‘.” (Dan Bilawsky, All About Jazz). Other critics declared that Held had created a “masterpiece” and praised Held for such “enthralling contemporary jazz”. On “Glow II” Held and company continue their incandescent musical explorations. Glow’s core has always been Pablo’s trio, bassist Robert Landfermann, and drummer Jonas Burgwinkel.

Since 2005 they have been an integral part of his musical concepts. Held saw Glow as “a way to put the trio into a different context, where we could be inspired and challenged by some of our favorite musicians.” Those “favorite musicians” include some of the major German players on the international scene. Keyboardist Hubert Nuss, bassist/cellist Henning Sieverts, and saxophonist Niels Klein participated in the first Glow. Nuss, Sieverts, Landfermann, as well as Glow II’s guitarist Ronny Graupe and alto saxophonist Christian Weidner, are also PIROUET recording artists. About the music, Pablo says, “I only write sketches for this band. What I bring to these musicians is more like a toolbox for them to fool around with. I trust the musical judgment of these guys so much, that I don’t want to tell them what to play. Compared to GLOW I, I’d like to think that the music became a little looser and free-flowing.” ~Editorial Review | Amazon

Chamber 3 is an ongoing international collaboration between Seattle drummer Matt Jorgensen and guitarist Christian Eckert and saxophonist Steffen Weber from Germany

Chamber 3 is an ongoing international collaboration between Seattle drummer Matt Jorgensen and guitarist Christian Eckert and saxophonist Steffen Weber from Germany. Since meeting in New York at the New School for Jazz & Contemporary Music in the early ’90s, Jorgensen and Eckert have continued their musical relationship through the years with multiple projects, including the organ trio NY3 and tours in the U. S. and Europe.

Adding Steffen Weber’s dynamic musical voice in 2014, the trio convenes in Southern Germany or the U. S. for explorations through compositions and musical sketches that highlight their mesmerizing group aesthetic. Seattle bassist Phil Sparks joins the trio on ‘Transatlantic,’ a collection of ten originals plus a Weber arrangement of the classic ‘When You Wish Upon a Star’ from Pinocchio. ~Editorial Review | Amazon

Expected Release Date: March 16, 2018

Trumpet player Josh Lawrence examines the scene from a whole new perspective on Contrast, his second release for Posi-Tone.

Using both his instrument and his skills as a bandleader, Lawrence succeeds in making another inspired statement by exploring several different musical avenues with his Color Theory project. Also featured on the record are the colors and sounds of alto saxophonist Caleb Curtis, trombonist David Gibson pianists Orrin Evans and Zaccai Curtis, bassist Luques Curtis, and drummer Anwar Marshall.

The session is elegantly lyrical and clearly suggestive of a modern jazz sensibility. With an amazing combination of talents, brilliant performances, and an evocative program of new original compositions, Contrast is sure to bring bright moments of intense delight to serious listeners and jazz fans everywhere. ~Editorial Review | Amazon

Expected Release Date: March 2, 2018

Talented saxophonist Ken Fowser is on a steady trajectory of ascent with his latest release Don t Look Down

Talented saxophonist Ken Fowser is on a steady trajectory of ascent with his latest release Don t Look Down. The sky is the limit, as Fowser lets loose with a stunning musical program of brilliant original compositions presented by his working group of Josh Bruneau on trumpet, pianist Rick Germanson, bassist Paul Gill, and Joe Strasser on drums.

From every angle, Fowser continues to develop and refine his strong artistic vision as a leader who is both emotionally engaging, uplifting, and charismatically entertaining. With a delicate balance of modernity and classic aesthetics, Don’t Look Down is an insightfully straightforward, steadily swinging, and refreshingly melodic record that will bring delight to the ears of jazz enthusiasts everywhere. ~Editorial Review | Amazon

Expected Release Date: FEB 16, 2018


After my first encounter with “EVENT HORIZON,” the gifted bassist/composer Mark Wade summoned the ears, heart, and souls of famished jazz lovers worldwide. With that said, I wasn’t surprised to hear about the arrival of his latest “MOVING DAY.” Much like those of you who heard his debut, I can appreciate the opportunity to submerge myself into the synergy, warmth, depth, and simplicity encompass in the body of this unsurpassed palette of music.

From the outset, the title piece “MOVING DAY,” as I hear this tune it sheds light on the fact that just because you’re a jazz artist and composer doesn’t mean that it’s necessary to score and play overly complicated songs. With his ample accomplices, Tim Harrison and Scott Neumann on hand blend their collective voices with near perfection embodies the chemistry, passion, and humility to make this happen.

As expected, In the context of this recording embedded throughout this winsome gem are influences of classic jazz melodies married and reinforced by the birth of new ideas and arrangements emerge together as one sumptuous sound for jazz listeners who cherished nuances of both worlds. The second track “WIDE OPEN” groans with anticipation, enthusiasm, and fervent appetite exude the character of each musician’s dexterity is more than a hint of what this album is all about.

The melodic reverie of “THE BELLS” is by no means elusive as it captures the complexity and charismatic interplay of this unmatched threesome.  It’s always great to hear an artist rendition of the Dizzy Gillespie classic “ANOTHER NIGHT IN TUNISIA.” Remarkably, Wade and company enrich this masterpiece with the timeless interplay of their own by executing their vibrant solos in the spirit of excellence.

With each listens, I’m compelled to believe that melodicism reveals the heart, soul, and spirit of an artist. In fact, their poise grace is exhibited on “SOMETHING OF A ROMANCE.” As a result, its adorned with timeless expressions of love underscored without words. The closing selection, “IN THE FADING RAYS OF SUNLIGHT” deserves repeated spins. I almost missed the magic of their intense, yet quietly explosive interplay simply radiates on this piece.

Considering these nine mostly original compositions by Livonia, Michigan native Mark Wade and his esteem friends paint an attractive tapestry of eloquent pieces masterfully played an underscored with thoughtful precision and understanding the language of jazz. With the wealth of content reinforced on “MOVING DAY,” he raised the bar of expectancy which should easily seize the moment and attention of both novice and seasoned jazz listeners alike.

~Reviewed by Rob Young | Altered Xpressions,  2018

MOVING DAY released February 2, 2018

Acclaimed saxophonist/composer Miguel Zenón performs with the MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble, Fred Harris, music director, and clarinetist/composer Evan Ziporyn in benefit concerts celebrating the resiliency of Puerto Rican people

• Friday, March 2, 2018 at MIT in Cambridge, MA
• Saturday, March 3 at Hunter College in NYC

Concert features world premiere of Zenón’s composition En Pie De Lucha

Puerto Rican-born MacArthur “Genius Grant” fellow and multi-Grammy-nominated saxophonist-composer Miguel Zenón joins conductor Fred Harris and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Festival Jazz Ensemble and clarinetist/composer Evan Ziporyn in two special benefit concerts for the victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. Both performances will feature the world premiere of En Pie De Lucha, Zenón’s new composition for jazz ensemble.

Zenón and the MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble (FJE) were slated to tour Puerto Rico in January of this year but had to postpone due to Hurricane Maria. “We were so excited about this trip,” says MTE FJE music director Fred Harris. “Along with concerts, we were planning on educational outreach events connecting MIT students with middle and high school students. We look forward to making the trip happen in 2019 but we want to contribute something now!”

All funds raised will be donated to the Puerto Rico Recovery Fund

Concerts take place:

• Friday, March 2, 8 p.m. at MIT’s Kresge Auditorium, 48 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA. Tickets $15-$20. For information visit

• Saturday, March 3, 8 p.m. at Silberman School of Social Work Auditorium, 2180 Third Avenue, New York City. Tickets $15-$20. For information visit

“Even though it isn’t front page news anymore, there’s still a lot of need in Puerto Rico,” says Zenón. “I’m very excited about these concerts and grateful to Fred and MIT for putting them together. The benefits are meant to raise funds as well as awareness about the situation on the island.”

Zenón has twice been an artist-in-residence at MIT, most recently in 2015 for the premiere of his extended composition for wind ensemble Music as Service, which was the subject of the MIT documentary film Call and Response.

Both concerts will feature the world premiere of Zenón’s En Pie De Lucha, an homage to the people of his home country. “The piece was inspired by the resiliency and courage of Puerto Rican people during these very trying times. It’s a tribute to those who stayed on the island in the aftermath of the destruction, who were willing to put up a fight and rebuild their country.”

The program also features music from Zenón’s celebrated recordings as well as other works by noted jazz artists. MIT Kenan Sahin Distinguished Professor of Music, Faculty Director for MIT’s Center for Art, Science & Technology, head of the MIT Music & Theater Arts Section, and renowned clarinetist-composer Evan Ziporyn will be a featured soloist on both concerts.

The Silberman Auditorium concert is co-sponsored by MIT Music and Theater Arts and Hunter College. Other collaborators include The Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College and the Association for Cultural Equity, an independent cultural research organization affiliated with Hunter College.


Multiple Grammy Nominee and Guggenheim and MacArthur Fellow Miguel Zenón represents a select group of musicians who have masterfully balanced and blended the often contradictory poles of innovation and tradition. Widely considered as one of the most groundbreaking and influential saxophonists of his generation, he has also developed a unique voice as a composer and as a conceptualist, concentrating his efforts on perfecting a fine mix between Latin American Folkloric Music and Jazz.

Born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Zenón has released ten recordings as a leader, including the Grammy-nominated Tipico (2017) and Identities Are Changeable (2014). As a sideman he has worked with jazz luminaries such as The SFJAZZ Collective, Charlie Haden, Fred Hersch, Kenny Werner, David Sanchez, Danilo Perez, The Village Vanguard Orchestra, Guillermo Klein & Los Guachos, The Jeff Ballard Trio, Antonio Sanchez, David Gilmore, Paoli Mejias, Brian Lynch, Jason Lindner, Miles Okazaki, Ray Barreto, Andy Montanez, Jerry Gonzalez & The Fort Apache Band, The Mingus Big Band, Bobby Hutcherson and Steve Coleman.

Zenón has been featured in publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, as well as gracing the cover of DownBeat Magazine on two occasions (2010 and 2014). In addition, he topped both the Jazz Artist of the Year and Alto Saxophonist categories on the 2014 Jazz Times Critics Poll and was selected as 2015 Alto Saxophonist of the Year by the Jazz Journalists Association.

As a composer he has been commissioned by SFJAZZ, The New York State Council for the Arts, Chamber Music America, Logan Center for the Arts, The Hyde Park Jazz Festival, The John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, Jazz Reach, Peak Performances, MIT, PRISM Quartet and many of his peers. Zenón has given hundreds of lectures and master classes at institutions all over the world, and is a permanent faculty member at New England Conservatory of Music. In 2011 he founded Caravana Cultural, a program which presents free-of-charge jazz concerts in rural areas of Puerto Rico. In April 2001 Zenón received a fellowship from the prestigious John Simon Guggenheim Foundation. Later that year he was one of 25 distinguished individuals chosen to receive the coveted MacArthur Fellowship, also known as the “Genuis Grant.”

The MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble was founded in 1963 by Boston jazz icon Herb Pomeroy and led since 1999 by Dr. Frederick Harris, Jr. The FJE is comprised of outstanding MIT undergraduate and graduate students studying a wide range of disciplines. It is the 2013 recipient of the Laya and Jerome B. Wiesner Award in the Arts at MIT and is the only MIT entity that has earned this recognition three times, a testament to its consistent high quality over many decades. The FJE has released five professional recordings including its major jazz label debut release on Sunnyside in 2015, Infinite Winds. This recording earned a five-star review in DownBeat Magazine and was named as one of DownBeat’s “Best Albums of 2015: Five-star Masterpieces.”

The MIT FJE has a long history of performing original music by MIT students and composers from around the world. Since 2001, it has presented over 45 world premieres. Among others, Mark Harvey, Herb Pomeroy, Jamshied Sharifi, Ran Blake, John Harbison, Chick Corea, Joe Lovano, Kenny Werner, Don Byron, Steve Turre, Magai Souriau, Guillermo Klein, Bill McHenry, Chris Cheek, Miguel Zenón, Dominique Eade, Eviyan, Jacob Collier, Ryan Keberle, Claire Daly, and George Schuller have worked with the FJE.

Composer-clarinetist Evan Ziporyn  has composed for the Silk Road Ensemble, the American Composers Orchestra, Brooklyn Rider, So Percussion, Maya Beiser, Wu Man, Sentieri Selvaggi, and Bang on a Can All-Stars. He studied at Eastman, Yale and UC Berkeley with Joseph Schwantner, Martin Bresnick, and Gerard Grisey. He is the Inaugural Director of MIT’s new Center for Art, Science and Technology, where he has taught since 1990. His work is informed by his 30-plus year involvement with the traditional gamelan. He received a Fulbright in 1987, founded Gamelan Galak Tika in 1993, and has composed a series of groundbreaking compositions for gamelan and western instruments. These include three evening-length works: ShadowBang (2001), Oedipus Rex (2004, Robert Woodruff, director), and A House in Bali (2009), which was featured at BAM Next Wave in October 2010.

Awards include a USA Artist Fellowship, the Goddard Lieberson Prize from the American Academy, Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellowship, the MIT Gyorgy Kepes Prize, and commissions from Carnegie Hall, Kronos Quartet, Rockefeller Multi-Arts Program, and Meet the Composer. He co-founded the Bang on a Can All-Stars in 1992, performing with the group for 20 years. He has also recorded with Paul Simon, Steve Reich Ensemble (sharing in their 1988 Grammy), and Matthew Shipp, and he currently performs with Iva Bittova and Gyan Riley in Eviyan.

The Center for a New Economy (CNE) is an independent, non-partisan think-tank. Founded in 1998, it produces rigorous public policy research and analysis and is one of the most credible and influential voices in Puerto Rico and the United States on the island’s economy. Since 2014, CNE has been recognized as one of the Top Think-Tanks to Watch by the Global Think Tank Report produced by the University of Pennsylvania.

Seeking to mobilize US mainland resources to provide an emergency response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, CNE created the Puerto Rico Recovery Fund. The Fund seeks to provide relief for the people’s most immediate needs–food water, clothing–while garnering resources for mid and long-term initiatives focused on ensuring a more productive and stable Puerto Rico. The Fund mobilized its first planeload of emergency supplies from the US into the island within a week of Maria’s destructive path. These supplies were distributed to affected non-profits in Puerto Rico within 24-hours of their arrival on the island.

With offices in San Juan and Washington, DC, CNE will be a strong and compelling advocate in the US capital for the island’s recovery and reconstruction efforts. A highly credible purveyor of rigorous and independent research and policy thinking, CNE will focus its efforts in the nation’s capital on the need to mobilize a significant amount of federal resources towards a comprehensive recovery and rebuilding program for Puerto Rico.

SOURCEMilva McDonald