GRAMMY-nominated saxophonist and composer Melissa Aldana joins the Blue Note Records family with the release of 12 Stars, her debut album as a leader for the legendary Jazz label. At 33, the Brooklyn-based tenor player from Santiago, Chile has garnered international recognition for her visionary work as a bandleader, as well as her deeply meditative interpretation of language and vocabulary.
12 Stars grapples with concepts of childrearing, familial forgiveness, acceptance, and self-love. “This is a really important album for me,” says Aldana. “I felt like I had so much to say because of all the experiences I had during 2020. After the personal process, I went through last year, I feel more connected to myself and my own imperfections — and I’ve discovered that it’s the same process with music. Embracing everything I hear, everything I play — even mistakes — is more meaningful than perfection.”
Just before the lockdown, Aldana went through personal struggles with the end of a relationship. Alone in Harlem, she told herself she’d be busy for years, with plenty of distractions from dealing with her complex emotional response. “But then,” she says, “the pandemic hit, and I hit bottom.” She needed to make changes, so she turned inward. “Because of that personal process, I feel even more connected to my music.” Even the way she practiced changed, allowing her to explore new concepts and endure discomfort.
The music on KUVO never stops, thankfully. The nature of these creative compositions and compelling collaborations is growth and re-invention, re-interpretation, and the quest for things altogether new and never heard before.
Jazz Appreciation Month comes along at just the right time. Spring is the time for new life, to replace the giant trees felled by age and virus. Not to put too much pressure on the young artists headed our way, but we’re counting on them to get us out of the grief and negative funk we’re in. Too much death. Too much sorrow. Lost memories and dear friends departed. Jazz folks are ready for what’s next in music, NOW MORE THAN EVER!
In April 2022, KUVO marks Jazz Appreciation Month by highlighting a few of the “New Faces of Jazz,” however you wish to describe this music. Every few days we’ll dig into the shallow catalogs of the up-and-comers who are coming on strong with musical ideas birthed from the soil loosely called “Jazz.”
We hope you will reach out to KUVO with YOUR favorite new artists because honestly, try as we might, we haven’t heard them all. Hit us up on any of our social media channels or text:
In the meantime, KUVO Jazz hosts (and the hosts of other formats on KUVO) will sound a little younger, and a little more adventurous during April. Because we’re depending on the next wave. Join us won’t you?
For more ways to celebrate Jazz Appreciation Month and for more resources, visit the Smithsonian Institution’s official JAM website at American History Smithsonian/Jazz Appreciation Month.
Picture credit: JAZZIZ
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