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Cirio: Live At the Blue Note

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Album Review

Percussionist Francisco Mela's second CD as a leader is a compelling blend of many influences, mixing neo-bop, Cuban jazz, and South African jazz, with a fine cast in support that includes pianist Jason Moran, guitarist/vocalist Lionel Loueke, bassist Larry Grenadier (sideman with Brad Mehldau on a number of his CDs), and tenor saxophonist Mark Turner. Six of the eight compositions were penned by the leader. "Tierra and Fuego" is an intricate, adventurous melody with Mela's tense percussion lighting the fire under Turner's burning tenor. The furious pulse of "Channel 2" propels Turner's far-reaching solo, while the mysterious, somewhat eerie "Cirio" is dedicated to the leader's late father, who died shortly before the recording sessions. "Ulrick Mela" is named for Mela's newborn son, a joyful piece primarily focusing on Loueke's vocal and guitar. These enjoyable live performances show a lot of promise for Francisco Mela, as a drummer, composer, arranger, and bandleader.


Born: 1968 in Bayamo, Cuba

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Cuban-born jazz drummer Francisco Mela is an in-demand performer and session musician who combines his knowledge of Cuban musical traditions with jazz and contemporary styles. Born in Bayamo, Cuba in 1968, Mela grew up studying the piano and drums and eventually enrolled at the Berklee College of Music in Boston in 2000. Mela's deep expertise in Cuban music and advanced jazz technique soon caught the attention of the school and he quickly moved from student to teacher. In 2001, Mela toured as a member...
Full Bio
Cirio: Live At the Blue Note, Francisco Mela
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