THURSDAY, APR. 5, 2018 | SOUTH ON MAIN [1304 Main St., Little Rock]
8:00 PM—The Oxford American is excited to welcome the Melissa Aldana Quartet to South on Main! This is the fourth and final show in our 2017-18 Jazz Series. Doors open at 6:00 PM, with dinner and drinks available for purchase at that time. The series is made possible in part by presenting sponsor UCA College of Fine Arts & Communication.
Additional season partners include Acura, Chris Harkins of Raymond James, J. Mark & Christy Davis, Stella Boyle Smith Trust, Downtown Little Rock Partnership, Stacy Hamilton of Pulaski Heights Realty, Ben E. Keith Foods Mid-South Division, Arkansas Arts Council, ACANSA Arts Festival, Capital Hotel, Rosen Music Company, and Piano Kraft.
Tickets are available via Metrotix.com (or by calling 800-293-5949), and are $30 (General Admission), $40 (Reserved), and $42 (Premium Reserved). Please take a look at this very important ticketing and seating information before purchasing your tickets (view reserved seating chart). Full season ticket pricing and options are also available in a consolidated format, here.
Acclaimed tenor saxophonist Melissa Aldana follows up her 2014 Concord release Melissa Aldana & Crash Trio with the explorative and deeply swinging Back Home, this time released on the Wommusic label. Pablo Menares, Aldana’s fellow native of Santiago, Chile, is again on bass. On drums is the in-demand Jochen Rueckert, bringing a supple and unpredictable rhythmic élan to the session. These three musicians turn on a dime and project an uncommonly full orchestral sound, rich in spiritual intensity, all in the absence of a harmony instrument.
The title Back Home might seem to evoke Chile, which Aldana left in 2007 to pursue jazz at ever-higher levels in the U.S. In fact, Aldana reveals, Back Home “is not really related to Chile itself. It’s related to the first time I picked up the tenor and I heard Sonny Rollins.” The closing title track carries strong echoes of Rollins’ playful spirit, and reveals much about Aldana’s evolution from a six-year-old alto player to “a bold newtalent” (NPR), one of the most compelling and prodigious tenor saxophonists of her time. In fact she wrote “Back Home” specifically for Rollins, she recalls: “He was one of the first reasons I started playing trio, because the freedom that you have within the music, the interaction, the opportunity you have to express yourself and communicate with the other musicians.”
Back Home was recorded at Sear Sound in June 2015. It was engineered (tracked and mixed) by James Farber and mastered by Greg Calbi, two of the top recording engineers in the world. Unlike the Crash Trio album, this time Aldana and the trio played together in the same room instead of using separation. The end result is a more intimate, full-bodied sound, with exceptional clarity, expanse, and color.
As the trio charts new terrain and evolves in its musical identity, Aldana remarks, “I do feel that there’s continuity from the last album but perhaps some added maturity. We were working and touring a lot, performing one day at large outdoor stages like the Playboy Jazz Festival in LA, then the next at intimate clubs like Smalls in New York, and I’m trying to bring in all the experience and things that I learned these past two years. I went to many really different places, hanging out with the guys, rehearsing back in New York, composing new music. I feel on this album there’s a more mature band sound that’s starting to emerge.”