Olas y Arenas
Perfume de Gardenias
On Alma Adentro, the Puerto Rican alto saxophonist and composer Miguel Zeñon once again displays his distinctive take on Latin jazz. Zeñon previously released two albums that wed Puerto Rican music and jazz, 2005’s Jibaro and 2009’s Esta Plena, both of which drew on traditional folkways. By contrast, Alma Adentro reinterprets work from the Puerto Rican popular songbook. The album’s core quartet — Zeñon, pianist Luis Perdomo, bassist Hans Glawischnig, and drummer Henry Cole — is joined by a 10-piece wind ensemble. The opener, Bobby Capó’s “Juguete,” was a hit in Cheo Felciano’s ballad version, but here the song is transformed into a swinging instrumental, and Zeñon’s sax work is super fine. Rafael Hernández’s “Silencio” features an excellent arrangement by Guillermo Klein. “Olas y Arenas,” by Sylvia Rexach, might be the best track. The complex, high-energy arrangement clearly bears Klein’s touch, and Perdomo and Zeñon unleash inspired solos. “Tite” Curet Alonso’s “Tiemblas” serves as the closer; it’s a lush, elegant piece that suggests the tensions of romance.