Francisco Mela
Francisco Mela dL MEDIA Rising Star Drummer Francisco Mela Releases His Second Album, Cirio: Live at the Blue Note (Half Note Records) Album Inspired By His Father, Cirio, Whose Portrait He Painted As a Pre-Teen And Graces the Album Cover Half Note Records will release Cirio (Sept. 23), Francisco Mela's first live record and second recording as a leader. The Cuban-born drummer assembles a superior cast of playmates - Jason Moran, Lionel Loueke, Mark Turner and Larry Grenadier - for this live recording captured at the Blue Note Club in New York City. Together they make music informed by the rhythms of Mela's homeland, while also going beyond into adventurous modern jazz. In the process, he evinces a versatility rare among young players; his interactions with different combinations of group members underscore his collaborative instincts. His debut release, Melao (AYVA Musica) which The Village Voice called the best debut by a jazz artist in 2006 (in the newspaper's first annual jazz critics poll), included luminaries such as Joe Lovano, George Garzone, Anat Cohen, Lionel Loueke, Leo Genovese and peter Slavov. Since then, Mela has increasingly become one most talked about and in-demand drummers on the scene in New York and beyond. He is currently a favorite among elite jazz instrumentalists such as Joe Lovano (Us Five), John Scofield (John Scofield Trio), Joanne Brackeen and as a regular member of Kenny Barron's trio, all of whom cite his charisma, sophistication, and life-affirming spirit. He brings to this impassioned performance compositions inspired by family - his recently departed father Cirio as well as his newborn son (the portrait of his father , Cirio, on the cover of the album was drawn by Mela as a pre-teen). At the age of seventeen, he started at the Music School of Arts "El Yarey" where he took classes of "Classic" and "Afro-Cuban" popular music in percussion instruments. A year later after he got his Diploma, started working as a percussion teacher in Rafael's Cabrera Conservatory of Music in Bayamo, Cuba at the same time he enrolled in the National School of Arts for Teachers el "CENCEA" (Centro Nacional de superación de la enseñanza artística) where he got a degree in Music and Percussion. While he was in Cuba, he met one of the best contemporary Latin Jazz Piano player's Emiliano Salvador, who invited him to be part of his quartet "Nueva Visión" and that's when he started his career as a Professional Musician. After a year the quartet split and then he met Gabriel Hernandez, another piano player, that was Mela's first performance at the "Jazz Plaza" one of the best Jazz Cuban's Festival in Havana, organized by Chucho Valdez. Right after Mela and Gabriel were invited to play in the "Cancun Jazz Festival" where he shared stage with Tito Puentes, Mongo Santa Maria, Dave Valentin, etc. In 1997, he created his own band "MelaSon Latin Jazz Band" which had a unique sound and it was invited to play all around Cancun. Mela moved to Boston in 2000 and became the house drummer of Wally's Cafe Jazz Club, one of the most important in Boston area. In this place he started developing his own sound and became the band leader of a Latin Jazz Quintet. At the end of 2001 he became the former drummer of "Jane Bunnette and Spirits of Havana," they went touring all around the US, Canada and Europe, giving workshops and clinics in different universities. When they came back, they recorded the Grammy Nominee Album "Cuban Odyssey." In 2002 he started teaching drums and percussion classes at Berklee College of Music, one of the most important Jazz Music University in the world. His music as a drummer has been influence by Jose Luis Quintana (Chango), Roy Haynes, Elvin Jones, Thelonious Monk, Tony Williams, Miles Davies and some others. He has performed with many jazz great musicians, including Kenny Barron, Joe Lovano, Paquito D'Rivera, George Garzone, John Patitucci, John Scofield, Jane Bunnett, Kenny Werner, Larry Grenadier, Jason Moran, Mark Turner, Stefon Harris, Regina Carter, Joanne Brackeen Lionel Loueke among others... Recently he appeared on August, 6 2005 at the Caramoor Jazz Festival introducing "Joe Lovano Presents Francisco Mela and the Berklee All-Stars Quartet". In 2008 he recorded his second album "CIRIO" live at the blue note, dedicated record to the memory of his father. He assembles a superior cast (Jason Moran, Lionel Loueke, Mark Turner and Larry Grenadier) for this live recording, his first, captured at the Blue Note. Together they make music informed by the rhythms of Mela's homeland, yet stylistically inclusive and adventurous in its reach. Mela is a a favorite among jazz's elite instrumentalists, all of whom cite his charisma, sophistication, and life-affirming spirit. He brings to this impassioned performance compositions inspired by family - his recently departed father, his newborn son. In the process, he evinces a versatility rare among players. Francisco Mela represents a new breed of jazz cat, one steeped in the rich traditions of musical cultures from near and far, and one whose music confidently leads us onward. "Today Francisco Mela is one of the most important Cuban's drummer in jazz" --Jazz Times--