Soraya performance preview: Melissa Aldana Quartet


Photo courtesy of Juha Uitto via Flickr.

Julia Dilacar, Reporter

The Soraya is set to host Melissa Aldana on Wednesday, Feb. 8. Aldana will be kicking off the Jazz at Naz festival with her music through the instrument known as the tenor saxophone.
Aldana was the first South American musician and first woman to win the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition as an instrumentalist in 2013, according to The Washington Post. She was also believed to have been the only second-generation competitor at the time, after her father Marcos Aldana’s participation in 1991.
Aldana first picked up the saxophone at just six years old, under the mentorship of her father, according to the Berklee College of Music.
Born in Santiago, Chile, Aldana started out as an alto saxophone player, but eventually switched to tenor after being inspired by Sonny Rollins’ music, according to her biography on AllMusic. Aldana started performing at jazz clubs in her home city as a teenager.
In 2005 when she met pianist Danilo Pérez whilst he was on tour in Chile, he invited her to play at the Panama Jazz Festival, as well as audition for various music schools in the United States. As a result of these introductions, Aldana attended Berklee College of Music in Boston.
With two Grammy nominations and six completed albums, it’s no wonder why critics have called her “the world’s next great tenor player”. She will be accompanied by her quartet, helping Aldana in her approach to jazz traditions through what she considers an experimental sound.