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The Great African-American Classical Art-Form

Francisco Mela Playlist

Francisco Mela with Eric Wyatt
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Cuban drummer, percussionist, and bandleader, Francisco Mela session with  (Joe Lovano, McCoy Tyner),  FE,  Released  May 1, 2016.

The album is the fourth release for Francisco Mela and features The Crash Trio, comprising Mela (drums), Gerald Cannon (bass) and Leo Genovese (piano) with special guest, renowned guitarist John Scofield. Mela assembled the trio to celebrate the life’s work of one of his mentors, legendary pianist, and composer, McCoy Tyner. The members of the group share an enduring friendship and have frequently collaborated over the years with a variety of different creative endeavors. The group has a signature sound, and international influences can be heard throughout their playing as the musicians’ nationalities include the United States, Argentina, and Cuba.

Mela states: “While recording this project, I was able to express some of my emotions with very special musicians who have played a major part in my development and musical growth. With them, I share a musical and spiritual friendship. We have a commitment based on trust and good faith; we simply want the best for one another. For this I am thankful.” This session is of particular significance to Mela, as he is releasing it shortly after the passing of his mother last year. He writes: “This album is dedicated to the memory of my parents, and I have faith that someday I will see them again.”

FE is being released independently and will be available via iTunes and Amazon Music on May 1, 2016; The Crash Trio will be planning performances surrounding the album in the coming months, and new dates will be listed on Francisco Mela’s website @

 Mela is a favorite amongst jazz's elite instrumentalists, among them, Joe Lovano, John Scofield, JoAnne Brackeen, Kenny Barron, Gary Bartz, Bobby Watson and McCoy Tyner, all of whom cite his charisma, sophistication, and life-affirming spirit as an extension of his incredible talents as a composer and drummer.
Francisco Mela was born in 1968 in Bayamo, Cuba. He moved to Boston in 2000 to pursue a degree at the acclaimed Berklee College of Music and, quickly thereafter, the faculty recognized that Mela had much to offer students and promptly hired him to teach at the school. Mela rapidly made a name for himself on the Boston scene, becoming the house drummer at the legendary Wally’s Café Jazz Club. It was at Wally’s that Mela began developing a concept for his own band, one that would feature the sounds of modern jazz with the traditional music he grew up with in Cuba.
Fellow Berklee faculty member and world-renown saxophonist, Joe Lovano, heard Mela and was immediately impressed, hiring him shortly after to play in his quartet. Since 2005, Mela has been an integral part of Joe Lovano’s quartet and his new group, “Us Five,” a two-drummer quintet. Their 2009 Blue Note Records recording, titled Folk Art, was considered by many critics to be Lovano’s most adventurous to date. In 2009, he was tapped by jazz legend McCoy Tyner to join his trio. Said Tyner of his new young drummer, “Mela is just a fantastic player. He has his own style and his own sound, which is what I look for in a drummer.  

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