Cuba and Brazil get credit for their contributions to jazz, but we tend to overlook Puerto Rico. And that’s an injustice that alto saxophonist, composer and thinker Miguel Zenon is trying to right.
Zenon, who brings his group to the Blue Room on Monday, is a powerful player who can fit into any jazz context he pleases — he’s in the SFJazz Collective, and works with forward-thinking leaders such as Kenny Werner and Guillermo Klein — but he’s drawing the most attention with his own projects.
Zenon’s clear-toned alto and strong writing have mingled jazz with strains that evolved in Puerto Rico — the jibaro and plena. And his new CD, “Identities Are Changeable,” explores in words and music the ways Puerto Rican and mainland U.S. cultures intersect.
At 37, Zenon is a Grammy nominee, MacArthur fellow and Guggenheim fellow, and a lot of people consider him one of the people who will shape the future of jazz. But consider what he’s playing and writing right now — that should be enough to recommend Monday’s show in itself.
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He’s bringing his working quartet of other artists striving for wider recognition: pianist Luis Perdomo, originally from Venezuela; bassist Hans Glawischnig, originally from Austria; and drummer Eric Doob, from Boston.
▪ Last week we talked about baritone saxophonist Roger Rosenberg, who’s gigging around the region with tenor saxophonist Rob Scheps. They will join guitarist Ron Carlson’s group at 6 p.m. Friday at the Lucky Brewgrille, 5401 Johnson Drive in Mission. They’ll be at the helm of a quintet with pianist Roger Wilder, bassist Bob Bowman and drummer Brian Steever at 8:30 p.m. Saturday at the Blue Room, 1600 E. 18th St. And they might pop in on some other people’s gigs here and there.
▪ Tenor saxophonist Matt Otto’s trio performs at 8 p.m. Thursday at the Westport CoffeeHouse, 4010 Pennsylvania Ave.
▪ The Blue Room has Miguel “Mambo” DeLeon and Carte Blanc at 7 p.m. Thursday and saxophonist Todd Wilkinson’s quartet at 8:30 p.m. Friday.
▪ The new, larger Take Five Coffee + Bar location is off to a good start with trumpeter Stan Kessler’s Parallax band (with the two-drummer attack of Steever and Ryan Lee) at 8 p.m. Friday and the People’s Liberation Big Band of Greater Kansas City, directed by Brad Cox, at 8 p.m. Saturday. The new place is at 6601 W. 135th St., Suite A-21, in Overland Park, south of the Von Maur store.
▪ Highlights at the Green Lady Lounge, 1809 Grand Blvd., include Stan Kessler at 9 p.m. Thursday; organist Chris Hazelton’s Boogaloo 7 at 10 p.m. Friday; organist Ken Lovern’s OJT at 9:30 p.m. Saturday and again at 9 p.m. Wednesday; the Foundation 627 Big Band at 8:30 p.m. Sunday; bassist Karl McComas-Reichl’s trio at 9 p.m. Monday; and keyboardist Bram Wijnands and his B3 Bombers at 9 p.m. Tuesday.
▪ Can it be? The People’s Liberation Big Band has gigs on consecutive nights? They’re also at the RecordBar, 1020 Westport Road, at 8 p.m. Sunday.