He is one of the favourites within the elite of instrumentalist jazz players, among them Joe Lovano, John Scofield, JoaAnne Brackeen, Kenny Barron, Gary Bartz, Bobby Watson, and McCoy Tyner, who quote his charisma, level of sophistication and extension of his incredible talents as composer and drummer.
He was born in 1968 in Bayamo, Cuba, and he studied there with one of the inspirers of Latin jazz Emiliano Salvador, and afro-cuban All Star pianist Gabriel Hernández, therefore his musical DNA was forged with the fire of Caribbean sounds. But something was missing, and he learned that when he arrived to Boston, where he saw a 17 years old kid playing jazz.
Retrained into an “American” school jazz player, Mela made his way in the demanding New York circuit: he played with Kenny Barron, Joe Lovano, Paquito D’Rivera, George Garzne, John Patitucci and John Scofield among others, and released three welcomed records, Melao (2006), Cirio (2008), registered in the Blue Note Club, and Tree Of Life, recorded with the octet Cuban Safari (2011), which includes a version of “Gracias a la Vida”.
He moved to Boston in 2000 where he received a degree from the prestigious Berklee College of Music, immediately after, the faculty realized how much Mela had to give to its students, so he was hired to teach at that school.