Melissa Aldana’s Blue Note Debut, ’12 Stars’ Is Out Now

The Chilean-born, New York City-based musician has also recently scored her first-ever dedicated ‘DownBeat’ Magazine cover feature.

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Melissa Aldana - Photo: Eduardo Pavez Goye

Grammy-nominated saxophonist and composer Melissa Aldana has released her stunning Blue Note debut 12 Stars, which was produced by Lage Lund and features the Santiago, Chile-born, Brooklyn-based artist’s quintet with Lund on guitar, Sullivan Fortner on piano, Pablo Menares on bass, and Kush Abadey on drums.

12 Stars is out now digitally and on CD with a vinyl release to follow on April 8. Aldana also marks two more career milestones this week with her debut appearance at the Village Vanguard in New York City, and her first-ever dedicated DownBeat Magazine cover feature.

Inspired by the symbols and tradition of tarot, Aldana titled the album after the 12 stars that adorn The Empress’ crown. “In numerology and tarot, The Empress is a symbol of creation. She represents my essence as an individual, and this entire journey,” she explains.“‘12 Stars’ is the last on the album but the first one I started writing during the beginning of my process, back in March 2020. I finished its composition a year later in March 2021. To me, finishing this tune also meant the closure of a period in my life because, as the legend goes, a phoenix obtains new life by rising from the ashes of its predecessor.”

Melissa Aldana discussing "12 Stars" on "First Look" with Don Was of Blue Note Records

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Just before the lockdown 2020, Aldana went through some personal struggles with the end of a relationship. 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.”

Buy or stream 12 Stars.

Melissa Aldana plays the following shows in 2022:

March 1-6 – Village Vanguard – New York, NY
March 7 – Dizzy’s Club @ Jazz at Lincoln Center – New York, NY (with New York Youth Symphony)
March 24 – Modlin Center for the Arts – Richmond, VA
March 26 – The Nash – Phoenix, AZ
March 28 – Caine Performance Hall – Logan, UT
March 30-April 3 – Jazz St. Louis – St. Louis, MO
April 7- University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, MI (special guest with University of Michigan Jazz Ensemble)
April 8 – Caffe Vivace – Cincinnati, OH
April 9 – The Jazz Kitchen – Indianapolis, IN
April 17 – Bimhuis – Amsterdam, Holland
April 19 – Theater del’Athenee – Paris, France
April 20 – Ronnie Scott’s – London, United Kingdom
April 21 – Teatro Ristori – Verona, Italy
April 23 – Jazz Dock – Prague, Czech Republic
April 24 – The Tivoli – Helsingborg, Sweden
April 25 – Stenhammarsalen – Goteborg, Sweden
April 27 – Club Atlantis – Basil, Switzerland
April 28 – Theater Russelsheim – Hessen, Germany
April 30 – Jazzahead – Bremen, Germany
May 1 – Ultramar Club L’Escala – Girona, Spain
May 13 – Exit Zero Jazz Festival – Cape May, NJ
May 26 – Cat in the Cream Coffeehouse @ Oberlin College – Oberlin, OH
June 29 – Auitorio de Gexto – Gexto, Spain
July 1 – Plaza Central Bueno – Bueno, Spain
July 2 – Love Supreme Festival – Glydne, United Kingdom
Aug. 28 – Charlie Parker Festival – New York, NY
Sept. 17 – Pittsburgh Jazz Festival – Pittsburgh, PA.

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