Signing Story: Melissa Aldana

Date Signed: April 2021

Type of Music: Jazz

Management: Robin Tomchin - RT Productions, [email protected]

Booking: Myles Weinstein - Unlimited Myles, [email protected] (North America); Katherine McVicker - Music Works International, katherine@musicworksinternational.com (ROW)

Legal: Jonas Herbsman - Herbsman Hafer Weber & Frisch, LLP

Publicity: Cem Kurosman,  [email protected]

Web: melissaaldana.net

A&R: Justin Seltzer, [email protected]

In 2017, Juno award winning jazz pianist Renee Rosnes was tasked by a European promoter with assembling a group of top musicians for a dozen or so festival dates spotlighting “Ladies in  Jazz.” Among the culturally diverse mix of veterans she chose was Chilean born, Berklee educated saxophonist Melissa Aldana, who had once joined Rosnes for shows at the Village Vanguard and Dizzy’s at Lincoln Center in N.Y.C.

During the Euro tour, the band was focused on gigging and there was no specific talk of extending it into a long-term project—but everything gelled a year later when they regrouped as Artemis and performed at the Newport Jazz Festival, a show NPR broadcast on “Jazz Night in America.” Blue Note president Don Was caught the performance and quickly got the ball rolling towards making a deal with the famed jazz label.

Aldana, who had previously released an album on Concord and later won a 2020 Grammy for Best Improvised Solo for “Elsewhere” from Visions on Motema Music, was in on the initial meetings with Was. “He learned about our individual histories when he signed Artemis,” she says, “and I had kept in touch with him.

“I wrote lot of music early on during the pandemic and by the middle of the year, I started thinking about a new label for it,” Aldana adds. “I reached out and asked him if he would be interested in signing me as a solo artist. He’s been nothing but nice to me and a super supportive fan of mine for a long time so it was a natural fit. I sent him a recording of one of my last live concerts playing some of the new music. He agreed to pursuing a deal, and luckily, I have a great manager, Robin Tomchin, behind me who took care of developing the details so I could continue writing and start recording.”

Was enthuses, “Melissa is one of the foremost musician/composers of her generation. Her vibrant artistic vision, mastering of her instrument and her deep groove make her a perfect exponent of the Blue Note ethos. We’re thrilled to be part of her musical life.”

No longer in the Artemis fold, Aldana says that her album, set for an early 2022 release, will feature songs that reflect on several years of personal growth related to both the pandemic and the split of a personal relationship before that. “Every tune has a little story, and a lot of the music represents the dreams and emotions of these past few years,” she says. “For me, recording an album feels like the closure of a period of your life, and this one is no exception.”