Saxophonist Melissa Aldana was born in 1988 in Santiago, Chile. At age 7 Melissa began music studies, specifically the saxophone, under her father Marco Aldana’s tutelage. Marcos is one of the first Chilean musicians to attain international recognition, was the first from that country, to participate in the Thelonious Monk Competition and to launch successful tours throughout the Americas and Europe. He is considered one of the most important musicians in Chile today.
No question, Melissa’s love of music has been greatly inspired by her father, but her musical styling and lyricism comes from her own inner understanding of the jazz format. She quickly developed an incredible technique that allowed her to participate in“Bravo Bravissimo”,an international contest where she took first place. She also participated and took first place, in the Miami TV contest “Quiero Ser Una Estrella”, where she competed against other international young musicians.
Melissa Aldana hit the jazz circuit as soon as she was able to, starting with Chile’s jazz scene where she gained tremendous respect from main stay jazz artists, who were impressed by her forthright approach to the music. What was also really impressive was her handling of an instrument traditionally known as a man’s instrument.
Melissa began to attract the attention of Jazz impresarios traveling through Chile. On May 2006 she was invited to perform live with Randy Brecker, and that same year she had an opportunity to meet the great Panamanian jazz pianist, Danilo Perez, who later invited her and her father to perform at the Panama Jazz Festival. And if that wasn’t enough, Perez invited the young musician, to audition for a spot at Berklee College of Music and the New England Conservatory. Melissa received the Berklee Presidential Scholarship, enabling her to join the student body at the prestigious Berklee College of Music.