Saxophonist/Composer Melissa Aldana was born in 1988 in Santiago, Chile. She began her music studies at the age of 6. Aldana hit the Chilean jazz scene at a very early age, and she quickly gained tremendous respect from mainstay jazz artists, who were impressed by her forthright approach to music.
In May 2006 she performed with Randy Brecker, and that same year she had the opportunity to meet the great Panamanian jazz pianist Danilo Perez, who later invited her to perform at the Panama Jazz Festival. Perez also invited Aldana to audition for Berklee College of Music.
Melissa was granted the Berklee Presidential Scholarship. It was at Berklee that she started to develop her own voice as a composer. She studied improvisation and composition with the best of the best –Joe Lovano, George Garzone, Frank Tiberi, Greg Osby, and Hal Crook.
After graduating in 2009, Melissa moved to New York City, where she currently resides. She soon became part of the city’s jazz scene, performing with her own quartet and as a “sideman” at the best New York clubs and concert halls, such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Village Vanguard, The Blue Note, Iridium, Smalls, Jazz Gallery, Birdland, Jazz Standard, and Bar Next Door, among many others, as well as sharing the stage with some of the greatest jazz artists such as Benny Golson, Greg Osby, George Coleman, Antonio Sanchez, Marc Copland, Kendrick Scott, Roberto Gatto, Paquito D’Rivera, Ben Monder, Joey Defrancesco, Peter Bernstein, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Paul Bollenback, Nir Felder, Francisco Mela, Joe Lovano, and Osmany Paredes, among others.
Aldana has also played in international jazz festivals and clubs including the Montreal Jazz Festival, the Naples Jazz Festival, the Panama Jazz Festival, Festival JazzUV Mexico, Las Condes Jazz Festival, La Patagonia Jazz Festival, Roma Jazz Festival at Casa Del Jazz, Festival de Jazz de Madrid, Festival de Jazz de Colima, Ejazz Festival, alongside Jazz luminaries the likes of McCoy Tyner, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Francisco Mela, and George Garzone, to name but a few.
Melissa released her debut album Free Fall under Greg Osby’s record label Inner Circle Music in 2010. Free Fall received outstanding reviews within the jazz community, and was reviewed by Downbeat Magazine, Jazz Times, and All About Jazz.
Melissa recently won the 2012 Altazor Award in Chile for Best Jazz Record 2012.