Melissa Aldana: Continuing the Tradition

Jazz's growing popularity in Chile may owe something to Melissa Aldana's family, which has produced three generations of saxophone players: Grandfather Kilo led a swinging big band, while father Marco played in various jazz clubs throughout Santiago and was a semi-finalist in the 1991 Thelonius Monk International Jazz Competition. Now the torch has passed to Melissa who won the Monk Competition in 2013, becoming the first female instrumentalist and first Chilean to do so. Melissa is a leader, composer, and performer who is lighting up stages in New York City where she now lives. Raised on Charlie Parker and John Coltrane, Melissa uses these traditions as the foundation for her own work. She believes “it doesn’t matter where you’re from, anyone can swing.”

You can also watch Aldana perform at the 2014 NEA Jazz Masters Award Ceremony and Concert with NEA Jazz Master Jimmy Heath!
 

MELISSA ALDANA NEA ARTS FINAL.mp3

Audio Tabs

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Woman holding saxophone, smiling.

Melissa Aldana. Photo courtesy of Melissa Aldana

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Woman playing saxophone in concert.

Melissa Aldana and Jimmy Heath performing at the 2014 NEA Jazz Masters Ceremony & Concert. Photo by Michael G. Stewart

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Woman playing saxophone in concert.

Aldana playing saxophone at the NEA Jazz Masters event. Photo by Michael G. Stewart

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Woman holding saxophone, leaning against wall.

Melissa Aldana. Photo by Jimmy Katz

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Chilean woman and African-American man playing saxophone together.

Aldana and NEA Jazz Master Jimmy Heath trading licks. Photo by Michael G. Stewart

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Woman playing saxophone in concert.

Aldana playing saxophone.

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Woman playing saxophone in concert.

Aldana performing with her quartet. Photo courtesy of Melissa Aldana