The Artistry of… Melissa Aldana

I like it when you simply cannot separate the elements of one arts discipline from another in order to adequately describe an artist. I think that captures a purity of artistry — a boldness and brazen natural rhythm and sensibility of expression.

Melissa Aldana is from a dynamically arts-infused place that could be best described as a cultural treasure chest: Santiago, Chile. She is a brilliant bridge and connection to the greatness of Latinx artists such as Frida Kahlo and continues along a path that simply demands equal room on the stage, as Kahlo and others did in creative worlds dominated by male artists. Aldana does this and more because she brings the uniqueness of her own expression and creative definition.

It was the music-making of the great Sonny Rollins that inspired her to use the tenor sax as her brush to colour her musical world.

Many writers have taken turns at describing the richness of Melissa Aldana. These words that follow are mostly from quotes praising the album Visions, but they also convey the sound. Aldana is “inspired as much by her musical idols Charlie Parker and Wayne Shorter as visual artists like Ecuadorian painter and sculptor Oswaldo Guayasamin and the great Frida Kahlo,” writes Stuart DerDeyn of the Vancouver Sun. Her sound “has the flashy traits of fauvism mixed with the neon of Warhol and a graceful finish like fine brush strokes on canvas,” writes Friedrich Kunzmann of All About Jazz.

Well, there it is. The artistry is as seamlessly intersected as colour and sound, and inseparably and uniquely Aldana.