Thursday, April 12 / 7:30 p.m.

WRTI 90.1 FM presents
Club ECP: The Jazz Cruises of Entertainment Cruise Productions
DoubleTree by Hilton Reading
Tickets: $20 (General Admission)

At the tender age of 24, Chilean-born tenor saxophonist Melissa Aldana seemed to come out of nowhere to win the prestigious, hotly contested 2013 Thelonious Monk Competition. She became the first female instrumentalist and the first South American to do so.

She later became a recipient of the Martin E. Segal Award from Jazz at Lincoln Center and a double recipient of the Altazor Award, Chile’s highly prestigious national arts prize.

Aldana may have been a dark horse to win the Monk prize, but her captivating sound and bold creative vision had been nurtured by some of jazz’s most insightful talent scouts.

Born in Santiago, she was a teenage standout on the Chilean jazz scene when an encounter with Danilo Perez left the pianist so impressed he recruited her for Berklee College of Music in 2007, coming under the mentorship of tenor great George Garzone. Pianist Danilo Pérez and saxophonist Patricia Zarate provided Aldana with crucial support and guidance as well.

Focusing on improvisation and composition, she studied with heavyweight saxophonists like Joe Lovano and Greg Osby. But her mentors don’t get all the credit for her rapid rise. Her grandfather was a thriving swing saxophonist in 1950s France, and her father competed in the 1991 Monk Competition that launched Joshua Redman’s career.

Aldana, who has released four albums, covers a great range of form and sound: controlled and loose, old and new, learned and intuitive.