Melissa Aldana, Echoes of The Inner Prophet Review

Melissa Aldana, Echoes of The Inner Prophet Review

by Stamish Malcuss

Melissa Aldana’s latest offering, Echoes of The Inner Prophet, sounds with the energy of Her personal and musical growth since her previous release, Visions. Read my review HERE. Echoes of The Inner Prophet is released under the esteemed Blue Note Records label. This album showcases Aldana’s evolution as an artist and her adeptness at navigating the complexities of jazz with maturity and depth.

Aldana’s musical journey began in Santiago, Chile, where she embarked on her saxophone odyssey under the tutelage of her father, Marcos Aldana. Influenced by jazz luminaries like Charlie Parker and Cannonball Adderley, the legendary Sonny Rollins inspired her transition from alto to tenor saxophone. After honing her craft at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Aldana made her mark in New York City, where she recorded her debut album, “Free Fall,” in 2010. Her groundbreaking victory at the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition in 2013 solidified her status as the first female and South American musician to claim the prestigious title.

Echoes of The Inner Prophet features Aldana on tenor saxophone alongside a stellar ensemble comprising Lage Lund on guitar, Fabian Almazan on piano, Pablo Menares on bass, and Kush Abadey on drums. With Aldana and Lund also taking on co-production duties, the album delivers a cohesive and immersive musical experience that seamlessly blends traditional jazz elements with contemporary sensibilities.

Aldana’s saxophone shines throughout the album, reflecting a mature and focused style influenced by jazz icons like Wayne Shorter. Her playing exudes melodic depth and expressive resonance, underscored by the collaborative synergy with her ensemble, which creates a dynamic and engaging listening experience.

Aldana’s choice of instrumentation for the album, featuring saxophone, guitar, piano, bass, and drums, gives us a sonic setting to enjoy her rich sonic saxophone sound. Traditional jazz elements meld seamlessly with modern techniques, allowing each musician to express themselves while contributing to the ensemble’s overall cohesion.

Tracks like “Echoes Of The Inner Prophet” and “Unconscious Whispers” exemplify Aldana’s ability to convey emotions through creative use of articulations and phrasing. The dedication to Wayne Shorter and other influential figures adds layers of depth to the album’s thematic exploration, offering a point of reference and perspective as we flow through contemplative ballads to vibrant improvisations that showcase Aldana’s versatility as a composer and performer.

The production quality of Echoes of The Inner Prophet is very balanced and organic, thanks to Aldana and Lund’s meticulous attention to detail. The album’s sound allows the nuances of each instrument to shine. Collaborative efforts with the ensemble and dedication to capturing the essence of each composition contribute to the album’s overall cohesiveness and impact.

Themes of introspection, collaboration, and community permeate throughout the album, reflecting Aldana’s personal journey and artistic vision. Each track communicates a distinct message through evocative melodies or expressive improvisations, inviting listeners to reflect on their experiences and connections to the music.

Aldana’s fusion of different musical cultures is evident in the album’s diverse influences and stylistic elements, bridging cultural gaps and inviting dialogue. Her commitment to honoring her influences while pushing musical boundaries underscores her role as a cultural ambassador in the world of jazz.

In conclusion, Echoes of The Inner Prophet reflects Aldana’s artistic vision and evolution as a musician since her previous album, Visions. She delivers a compelling narrative that resonates with contemporary jazz sounds through well-written compositions, focused playing, and collaborative efforts.

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