Miguel Zenón is an outstanding young alto saxophonist and composer whose consistently intriguing work bristles with exciting variations of broad jazz history, bits of classical, and the musical roots of his native Puerto Rico. He attended both Berklee and the Manhattan School of Music, hooked up the Either/Orchestra as well as David Sánchez, Mingus Big Band, and Steve Coleman. Currently he is a member of the SFJAZZ Collective in addition to leading his own longstanding, first-rate quartet, which includes pianist Luis Perdomo, bassist Hans Glawischnig, and drummer Henry Cole. Zenón's new album, Esta Plena (Marsalis), due out next week, is a deft fusion of jazz and plena, a wide-ranging genre originating in Ponce in the 19th century that incorporates African rhythms and European melodies, with lyrics that comment on life and the times. The approach is similar to what Zenón did with jíbaro, a genre from the Puerto Rican countryside, on his superb 2005 album of the same name. Except Esta Plena includes three plena vets singing and playing panderos. In both cases, Zenón doesn't create hyphenated Latin-jazz so much as something uniquely rooted in each camp. The playing is exemplary, the mood celebratory, the revelations plentiful. Expect the same at the Dakota, where plenero Tito Matos will join Zenón's quartet. $20 at 7 p.m., $15 at 9:30 p.m.
Wed., Oct. 14, 7 & 9:30 p.m., 2009