Melissa Aldana Comes to LA's Blue Whale—Feb6

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Chilean-born tenor saxophonist Melissa Aldana. Photo by Jimmy Katz.

This Friday, February 6, LA’s premier Downtown LA jazz club, blue whale, serves up yet another delectable jazz treat. Born in Santiago, Chile, tenor saxophone virtuoso Melissa Aldana established herself as a heavyweight when she won the 2013 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition.

A third generation saxophonist, Melissa first picked up the instrument at the age of six, following in the footsteps of her grandfather, Enrique ‘Kiko’ Aldana, a founding member of Chile’s tropical and jazz Orquestra Huambaly. Under her father, Marcos Aldana’s tutelage, Melissa learned phrasing by transcribing cassettes of jazz greats like Charlie Parker, Cannonball Adderley, and others. She recalls in her bio, “We would take one phrase and listen. Then, I would play it really slow, over and over, hundreds of times, until it sounded like…the masters.” When Melissa came into her own and decided to focus on tenor sax, she was gifted her grandfather’s own treasured Selmer Mark VI tenor sax that she still plays today.

Crash Trio
Melissa Aldana & Crash Trio (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

By age 16, Melissa was already headlining sets for the Santiago jazz clubs, before moving to Boston to study at the venerated Berklee School of Music. With her debut album, Free Fall (2010), She emerged on the New York scene as a super-talented tenor sax player, followed by Second Cycle in 2012. Recognized for her exceptional command of her instrument, sensational improvisations, and originality, Melissa is the first female instrumentalist ever to be awarded the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition, for which she also received a record deal with the Concord Music Group.

Together with Chilean bass player Pablo Menares and Cuban drummer Francisco Mela, Melissa released her third and most recent album, Melissa Aldana & Crash Trio, last year. Together they will perform a show that you won’t want to miss at blue whale this Thursday, February 6. For more information, click here.

Melissa’s 2013 performance of “You’re My Everything,” at the Berklee School of Music.

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