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Melissa Aldana’s Highlights


We are very excited to introduce Sax Magazine’s Featured Artist for February: Chilean saxophonist Melissa Aldana, who is about to release her new album, “12 Stars”, on Blue Note.

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ISSN: 2792-8349

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International Journal of Music

  • 1988: Born in Santiago, Chile.
  • 1994: Started playing the saxophone under her father, Marcos Aldana.
  • 2004: Headlining jazz clubs in her native Santiago.
  • 2005: After meeting pianist Danilo Pérez while he was on tour in Chile, she was invited to play with him at the Panama Jazz Festival. She auditioned for the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, and was accepted.
  • 2009: Graduated from Berklee and moved to New York City.
  • 2010: Debut album, Free Fall (Inner Circle).
  • 2012: Released her second album, Second Cycle (Inner Circle). Altazor Award of the National Arts, Chile. Founded the Melissa Aldana & Crash Trio with Cuban drummer Francisco Mela and Chilean bassist Pablo Menares.
  • 2013: First female musician and the first South American to win the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition.
  • 2014: Performed with Jimmy Heath at the NEA Jazz Masters Award Ceremony. She’s honoured with Lincoln Center’s Martin E. Segal Award and received the Altazor National Arts Award for the second time. First album with the Melissa Aldana & Crash Trio (Concord Jazz).
  • 2015: Wynton Marsalis invited her to the Jazz at Lincoln Center.
  • 2016: Second album with the Melissa Aldana & Crash Trio, Back Home (Wommusic), with drummer Mela replaced by Jochen Rueckert.
  • 2017: Formed the Melissa Aldana Quartet with Sam Harris on piano or Lage Lund on guitar, Pablo Menares on bass, and Kush Abadey on drums. She also was one of the founding members of ARTEMIS, a jazz supergroup featuring pianist and musical director Renee Rosnes, clarinetist Anat Cohen, tenor saxophonist Melissa Aldana, trumpeter Ingrid Jensen, bassist Noriko Ueda, drummer Allison Miller, and vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant.
  • 2018: Performed with ARTEMIS at the Newport Jazz Festival.
  • 2019: Released the album Visions (Motéma Music) about the Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, earning her first-ever Grammy nomination for Best Improvised Jazz Solo, acknowledging her impressive tenor solo on her composition Elsewhere.
  • 2020: ARTEMIS debut album on Blute Note, featuring Aldana’s simmering composition Frida.
  • 2021: Release of her latest album, 12 Stars (Blue Note), on March 4.

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