Acclaimed Chilean tenor saxophonist Melissa Aldana was the first female instrumentalist ever to win the coveted Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition in 2013. She started playing at six years of age and was influenced by the greats like Charlie Parker and Cannonball Adderley, but also by her own father, Marco Aldana’, who is considered one of the most important musicians in Chile today.
No question, Melissa’s love of music has been greatly inspired by her father, but her musical styling and lyricism comes from her own inner understanding of the jazz format. She quickly developed an incredible technique. She studied at Berklee College of Music in Boston, was schooled by and played with Randy Brecker, Greg Osby, Danilo Perez, Joe Lovano, Benny Golson, to name a few, and has released four albums as a leader.
Anyone who listens to Melissa Aldana’s music might recognize generations of influences deep within her playing. Still, the tenor player and composer has managed to merge these contrasting lineages into a distinctive voice. Last year she played at North Sea Jazz in an all female jazz artist band together with Cécile McLorin Salvant and Tineke Postma. This year So What’s Next? proudly presents her with her own band.