What We Do
Tango: Zero Hour (Astor Piazzolla)
Astor Piazzolla imagined la hora cero as the time after midnight, “ an hour of absolute end and absolute beginning.”
It was not by chance, then, that early in his career, he titled one of his breakthrough pieces “Buenos Aires Hora Cero.” It could not be by chance that, as he was entering his autumn days, he called the album that summed up decades of hard work and carried deep personal hopes and professional expectations, Tango Zero Hour.
Ceremonial (Miguel Zenón)
Fusions suggest borrowing, compromise, calculation.
Miguel Zenón plays who he is.
Born in a tough, poor neighborhood in Santurce, Puerto Rico in a non-musical family, Zenón, 27, grew up surrounded by the sound of salsa and traditional bomba y plena, got a classical music education, discovered jazz on the radio with Charlie Parker and the Machito Orchestra playing "Mango Mangue" and while, as a kid, "music was nothing special," he eventually forwent a career in engineering ("I love math and science") to take a chance on what has become his dream: "making a living with my playing."
Central Avenue (Danilo Pérez)
It's easy to sound complicated. It takes a special artist to make complex ideas sound simple.
It is an old concept, but one worth keeping in mind as we muddle on through the turn of the century. This is a time when the choices seem to have been reduced to nostalgia or facile, cut-and-paste esthetics.
In Central Avenue, Danilo Perez mixes blues, Middle Eastern-tinged melodies, and the folk singing of his native Panama, conjures up Thelonious Monk playing 21st-century danzones, sets Indian tablas next to Caribbean tumbadoras and makes it all sound familiar.
More than that, it sounds inevitable.