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Jazz 15/02/2024

Melissa Aldana Returns With April 5 Release Of Echoes Of The Inner Prophet

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Melissa Aldana Returns With April 5 Release Of Echoes Of The Inner Prophet
New York, NY (Top40 Charts) Melissa Aldana returns with the April 5 release of Echoes Of The Inner Prophet, the follow-up to the acclaimed saxophonist's GRAMMY-nominated Blue Note debut 12 Stars. The new album - which is available for pre-order on Blue Note Store exclusive color vinyl, black vinyl, CD, and download - is an 8-song set of original compositions by Aldana and her bandmates that is introduced with the kinetic lead single "The Solitary Seeker." Aldana has also announced NYC album release shows on April 9-10 at Dizzy's Club at Jazz At Lincoln Center.

A fascinating paradox defines Echoes Of The Inner Prophet, a musical voyage to explore the depth of the spiritual journey. As Aldana explains, her new album reflects her "personal journey, with an especially introspective point of view. The inner prophet is my own self, now older, who has the knowledge and the intuition and the truth about what my path should be."

At the same time, this deeply intimate, searching project is a celebration of collaboration and community. It documents the evolution of her quintet — Lage Lund, guitar and effects; Fabian Almazan, piano and effects; Pablo Menares, bass; Kush Abadey, drums — capturing the collective insight they've garnered after extensive touring and travel, and arguing for their place among the most incisive working groups in jazz today.

The album also furthers Aldana's uniquely symbiotic kinship with Lund, who serves as her arranger and co-producer, and with whom she shares the rarest "trust and openness." What's more, Echoes Of The Inner Prophet features two heartfelt dedications to figures who made Aldana's musical life possible.

The album's title track pays homage to Wayne Shorter, the late modern-jazz pioneer (and Blue Note cornerstone) who sat on the judges' panel at the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition that Aldana won in 2013. At the time, she'd been based in New York for a few years after relocating from her native Chile by way of Berklee, which she attended on a full scholarship at the encouragement of Shorter's pianist, Danilo Pérez. The Monk victory kick-started her ascent and rapidly made her one of jazz's most respected and important new voices.

Though the impact of Sonny Rollins on Aldana's playing is well documented, it is Shorter's aura that looms largest throughout Echoes, particularly in the way Aldana's writing and improvising offer constant, sometimes demanding surprises while maintaining a highly listenable allure. Her interest in Shorter's music, while lifelong, has ramped up over the past few years — a reflection of the themes of maturation and never-ending discovery that Aldana explores throughout Echoes. "As I've grown older," she says, "I think I can relate to his music and his playing in a way that maybe I couldn't when I was younger." For Aldana, that means absorbing Shorter's lessons on the "use of space, the storytelling, how you communicate, how you paint. When I think about Wayne, I think about colors."

The credits for Echoes Of The Inner Prophet are as follows:

Side A:
Echoes Of The Inner Prophet For Wayne Shorter (Melissa Aldana)
Unconscious Whispers (Aldana)
A Story (Aldana)
The Solitary Seeker (Aldana)

Side B:
Ritual (Pablo Menares)
A Purpose (Aldana)
Cone of Silence For James Farber (Aldana)
I Know You Know (Lage Lund)

Melissa Aldana: tenor saxophone
Lage Lund: guitar & effects
Fabian Almazan: piano & effects
Pablo Menares: bass
Kush Abadey: drums
Produced by Melissa Aldana & Lage Lund

Feb. 22 - Brigham Young University-Idaho - Rexburg, ID
March 2 - Wortham Theater Center - Houston, TX
March 21 - Collin County College - Plano, TX
March 29 - Betty Andrews Recital Hall - Edmonton, Canada
April 2 - University of Chicago - Chicago, IL
April 5 - Jazz Showcase - Chicago, IL
April 9 - Dizzy's Club @ Jazz At Lincoln Center - New York, NY
April 10 - Dizzy's Club @ Jazz At Lincoln Center - New York, NY
April 19 - Wichita Art Museum - Wichita, KS
April 25 - Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts - Orlando, FL
April 28 - Chez L'Amour - Saint Augustine, FL

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