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Miguel Zenón feat. Spektral Quartet: Tiny Desk Concert

Saxophonist Miguel Zenón is a big thinker — that much is clear from his recorded output, with its deep and inspiring connection to the folk traditions of his native Puerto Rico. But you also get that sense from his turn behind the Tiny Desk, where we can watch the concentration on his face and those of his adventurous band, the Spektral Quartet. This is life-affirming music with curious twists and turns, expertly performed by amazingly talented musicians.

There are two ways to marvel at the stunning unison playing that comes about three-quarters of the way through "Milagrosa." First, listen with your eyes closed. The notes cascade at a such a fast clip, it can leave you breathless. Now, watch with your eyes open: It's a joy to see Zenón and his band read the notes from the page, at times sneaking in visual cues with smiles just below the surface. It must be such a pleasure to make music like this.

Set List

  • "Rosario"
  • "Milagrosa"
  • "Villabeño"
  • Credits

    Producers: Felix Contreras, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin;Videographers: Morgan Noelle Smith, Kaylee Domzalski, CJ Riculan; Production Assistant: Brie Martin; Photo: Heather Kim/NPR

    Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

    Felix Contreras is co-creator and host of Alt.Latino, NPR's pioneering radio show and podcast celebrating Latin music and culture since 2010.
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