One night at A Place For Jazz, Schenectady NY
Melissa Aldana was born in Santiago, Chile. She began playing the saxophone when she was six, under the influence and tutelage of her father, Marcos Aldana, also a professional saxophonist. She began with alto, influenced by artists such as Charlie Parker, Cannonball Adderley and Michael Brecker. However, upon first hearing the music of Sonny Rollins, she switched to tenor. She graduated from Berklee College of Music in 2009 and relocated to New York City to study under George Coleman. She recorded her first album, Free Fall, released in 2010. In 2013, aged 24, she was the first female musician and the first South American musician to win the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition.