Born: September 9, 1976 Primary Instrument: Guitar, electric
Born in Boston, MA Chris began playing guitar at the age of 12. Growing upin a Portuguese family, his love for diverse music was already apparent, falling in love with the music of artists such as Tom Jobim, Pat Metheny, John Coltrane, and Brazilian composer Ivan Lins. Upon graduating high school he went on to formally study the guitar at the University of Massachusetts.
At an early age he found himself working in the pit orchestras of the Boston scene, musical theater productions, and performing with orchestral groups such as the MET Wind Orchestra and the Boston Pops. Musically he was drawn to studying and performing jazz with local gurus Mick Goodrick, George Garzone, and Rick Peckham, in addition to continuing to work with Brazilian, Salsa, and other world music groups.
In 2000 he completed his Master's degree at the illustrious University of North Texas as a Teaching Fellow in the Jazz Department. While studying he also toured with the 25 year-old Dallas Jazz Orchestra and served as a staff columnist for Just Jazz Guitar Magazine.
In 2007 Chris completed his Doctoral Degree in Music within the Studio/Jazz Guitar Department at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. He has authored numerous works currently in print, including his Doctoral thesis examining World Guitar Dialects published by MEL BAY. As an educator, he currently serves on the faculty at Cerritos College, Rio Hondo College, and Betehsda University in the Los Angeles area.
An active performer in the L.A. scene, he has performed/recorded with: Ernie Watts, Norah Jones, Vanessa Williams, the Dixie Chicks, Cafe Tacuba, Justo Almario, Jeff Kashiwa, Paul Schaeffer, Kenny Wheeler, Giovanni Hidalgo, Dan Higgins, Katia Moraes, Bill Cunlife, Bobby Shew, the Banda Brothers, Shelly Berg, and a host of others. Additionally, Chris has recorded music for Vh-1, Taco Bell, Verizon Wireless, Latin Grammy Awards, Touchstone Pictures, Greenlight Studios, and Disney.
His debut release “THE GLOBAL VILLAGE” delivers a spectacular musical journey that embraces the guitar as the centerpiece within a tapestry of global musical influences from Cuba to Brazil to Africa. The compositions explore fresh new points of the “musical compass” while still delivering an unparalleled level of spontaneity, interaction, and virtuosity that one would expect from a modern jazz recording. Fusing the infectious rhythms of Latin/South America with the elements of jazz, Mello creates compositions with memorable melodies, lush harmonies, coupled with some truly irresistible grooves. His playing here has redefined and reshaped the role of the guitar beyond the traditional limits of “Latin Jazz”.
As a player, Mello’s astoundingly singular artistic sensibilities have rendered him a high profile contributor to numerous recordings. On both Nylon and Electric guitars, his carefully woven melodic ideas, innovative harmonies, and mastery of a multitude of “local guitar dialects” define him as a “unique musical voice” in a sea of modern guitar clones. Adding to this, is Mello's unique knowledge and affinity for Latin string instruments such as Cuban Tres, Cavaquinho, Tiple, Charango, and a host of others. His writing exhibits his passion for vibrant global music cultures flowing over an open tributary of modern jazz. As a guitarist, his unique musical voice speaks well beyond his years!
Mello is definitely a player to watch out for!!! - JazzReview