Melissa Aldana Releases New Album ‘Echoes Of The Inner Prophet’

The new record is the follow-up to the acclaimed saxophonist’s Grammy-nominated Blue Note debut ’12 Stars.’

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Melissa Aldana - Photo: Ebru Yildiz/Blue Note Records

Melissa Aldana has released hew new album Echoes Of The Inner Prophet, the follow-up to the acclaimed saxophonist’s Grammy-nominated Blue Note debut 12 Stars.

The new album is a striking 8-song set of original compositions by Aldana and her bandmates which is available now on Blue Note Store exclusive color vinyl, black vinyl, CD, and download. Aldana will celebrating the album’s release on April 9-10 at Dizzy’s Club at Jazz At Lincoln Center with additional tour dates across the U.S. and Europe in the coming months.

Melissa Aldana also discusses the new album on the latest episode of “First Look” with Don Was, which you can check out below.

Melissa Aldana on "First Look" with Don Was of Blue Note Records

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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.”

Buy or stream Echoes Of The Inner Prophet.

April 9-10 – Dizzy’s Club @ Jazz At Lincoln Center – New York, NY
April 19 – Wichita Art Museum – Wichita, KS
April 25-27 – Judson’s Live – Orlando, FL
April 28 – Chez L’Amour – Saint Augustine, FL
June 30 – Montreal International Jazz Festival – Montreal, Canada
July 25 – Langnau Jazz Nights – Emmental, Switzerland
July 26 – Bird’s Eye Jazz Club – Basel, Switzerland
July 27 – Casa Da Cultura de Loulé – Faro, Portugal
July 29 – Summer Jazz Festival – Riccione, Italy
July 31-Aug. 5 – Siena Jazz Academy – Siena, Italy
Oct. 2-4 – University of Arts – Helsinki, Finland
Oct. 6 – Pohjankartano – Oulu, Finland
Oct. 9-11 – Siltasaari – Helsinki, Finland
Oct. 16 – Dokkhuset – Trondheim, Norway
Oct. 17 – Spor 5 – Stavanger, Norway
Oct. 18 – Bergen Jazz Forum – Bergen, Norway
Oct. 19 – Nasjonal Jazzscene Victoria – Oslo, Norway
Oct. 24 – NUEJAZZ Festival – Nuremberg, Germany
Oct. 26 – Flagey – Brussels, Belgium
Nov. 5-10 – Village Vanguard – New York, NY

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