Latin Grammy nominee Paoli Mejias is a distinguished master percussionist from Puerto Rico, ranked among the best in both Latin jazz and salsa. As a bandleader Paoli fuses straight-ahead jazz with African, Mediterranean & Caribbean folkloric rhythms to create a new dimension of Latin jazz that is global, energetic, and modern.
Performing for more than 20 years alongside Latin jazz legends like Tito Puente, Dave Samuels, Dave Valentin, Paquito d’Rivera, Chick Corea, David Sanchez and Danilo Perez, who all have called on Paoli for his unique blend of melodic sensitivity and blinding technique. Paoli also gained international recognition while touring the largest jazz festivals as Eddie Palmieri’s side-man for more than a decade.
Now Paoli is at the vanguard of Latin jazz as leader of his own Quintet; his debut as bandleader on his first self-produced CD “Mi Tambor” was so successful he received a Latin Grammy nomination for Best Latin Jazz Album. Showered with positive press and accolades from the worldwide jazz community, Paoli’s transition from sideman to focal point was explosive. His 2006 follow-up release “Transcend” features some of the New York Latin jazz scene’s finest: Miguel Zenón, Antonio Sánchez, Luis Perdomo, Jaleel Shaw, & Hans Glawischnig, all of whom also recorded on his 3rd CD “JAZZAMBIA” released November of 2008.
Paoli’s latest project “PAOLI MEJIAS DE JAZZAMBIA A MI TAMBOR EL CONCIERTO” released on Blu-ray in the fall of 2011, is a concert of Paoli performing with the best musicians in Puerto Rico many songs from his 3 CDs, and new songs he has written. This live recording is a captivating musical journey of Paoli’s evolution as musician, bandleader, and composer. Paoli documents a historical moment in Latin jazz, celebrating the diversity of his Puerto Rican heritage and showcasing the rich talent of the new generation of musicians in Puerto Rico.
Photo Credit: Wilma C. 2012