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“She is planting her flag in a sax player’s jazz world that clearly and deservedly belongs now to her.” — JazzTimes
At 24, Chilean-born tenor saxophonist Melissa Aldana seemed to come out of nowhere to win the prestigious, hotly contested 2013 Thelonious Monk Competition. She may have been a dark horse, but her captivating sound and bold creative vision have been nurtured by some of jazz’s most insightful talent scouts. Born in Santiago, she was a teenage standout on the Chilean jazz scene when an encounter with Danilo Perez left the pianist so impressed he recruited her for Berklee College of Music. Focusing on improvisation and composition, she studied with heavyweight saxophonists like Joe Lovano and Greg Osby. But her mentors don’t get all the credit for her rapid rise. Her grandfather was a thriving swing saxophonist in 1950s France, and her father competed in the 1991 Monk Competition that launched Joshua Redman’s career.
style: straight-ahead / modern jazz