photo credit: Harrison Weinstein
Chilean saxophonist Melissa Aldana emerged on the scene like a shooting star following her 2013 win of the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition. She was the first female instrumentalist and first South American to win in the entire history of the competition. In 2007 Aldana enrolled at Berklee College of Music, and was mentored by tenor great, George Garzone. In 2009, she relocated to New York City to immerse herself in the jazz scene. Since winning the Monk Competition, Aldana has toured the world, headlining at prestigious venues and festivals. She has released four recordings: Free Fall (2010), Second Cycle (2012), Melissa Aldana & Crash Trio (2014), and her most recent Back Home (2016): a deeply swinging trio outing with bassist Pablo Menares and drummer Jochen Rueckert. The New York Times hailed the recording as a “deeply focused statement,” and Billboard praised her solos as “lyrical” and “gutsy.” Aldana is also a double-recipient of the prestigious Altazor Award, a Chilean National Arts prize, as well as a winner of the Martin E. Segal Award, given to artists associated with Jazz at Lincoln Center.