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Francisco Mela

Cuban-born jazz drummer Francisco Mela can be an in-demand performer and session musician who combines his understanding of Cuban musical traditions with jazz and modern styles. Given birth to in Bayamo, Cuba in 1968, Mela was raised learning the piano and drums and finally enrolled in the Berklee University of Music in Boston in 2000. Mela’s deep experience in Cuban music and advanced jazz technique quickly caught the eye of the institution and he quickly relocated from college student to instructor. In 2001, Mela toured as an associate of Jane Bunnett’s Soul of Havana ensemble and later on became a member of saxophonist Joe Lovano’s group alongside bassist Esperanza Spalding. Mela in addition has found use such legendary performers as pianists Kenny Barron and McCoy Tyner. In 2006, Mela released his debut single recording, Melao, which presented Lovano alongside guitarist Lionel Loueke, saxophonists Anat Cohen and George Garzone, among others. He came back in 2008 using the live recording Cirio: Live in the Blue Notice, which discovered the drummer playing alongside such likewise adventurous performers as saxophonist Tag Turner and pianist Jason Moran. In 2011, influenced by such longtime affects as Kilometers Davis’ music group with keyboardists Keith Jarrett and Chick Corea, the innovative fusion group Climate Statement, and Chucho Valdés with Irakere, Mela and his ensemble Cuban Safari released the studio room work Tree of Lifestyle.

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