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Genres You Will Love
Moods: Featuring Drums World: Caribbean Moods: Type: Vocal Latin: Salsa Latin: Latin Jazz

By Location
Puerto Rico US United States - Washington

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Paoli Mejias

Latin Grammy nominee Paoli Mejias fuses straight-ahead jazz with African, Mediterranean & Caribbean folkloric rhythms to create a new dimension of Latin jazz that is global, energetic & modern.

Renowned for his innovative vision, global style and unique sound, Paoli is a distinguished master percussionist and is ranked among the best in both Latin jazz and salsa. Currently the conga player for the rock icon Carlos Santana, Paoli has played the largest concert venues and jazz festivals around the world. He has performed for more than 30 years along side Latin jazz legends like Eddie Palmieri who he played with for more than a decade, and also 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.

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.

His next project "PAOLI MEJIAS DE JAZZAMBIA A MI TAMBOR EL CONCIERTO" is a recorded concert released on Blu-ray in the fall of 2011 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.

In September of 2013 Paoli received the honor of being invited by Carlos Santana to join the legendary Santana band. While not touring with Santana, Paoli continues working on his own projects. "Abriendo Camino" was released in 2018 with 9 vocal tracks full of Afro-Caribbean flavor with salsa, bomba, plena & fusion. Paoli composed the lyrics and is featured on vocals and percussion on all songs.

“Latin bandleaders these days are making music that becomes simultaneously more modern and more ancient. “Jazzambia” by the Puerto Rican percussionist Paoli Mejías, is the latest proof. It’s exciting to see where it goes” - NEW YORK TIMES

"Transcending Expectations" - DOWNBEAT

"It's his work as a leader that best reflects the importance of Mejías as a force within and beyond Latin music." - DRUM! MAGAZINE

"Paoli Mejias transcends the conventions of mainstream jazz, creating a rich tapestry of original, Latin-flavored, improvisational music" - JAZZ IMPROV

"This exceptional session [Transcend] is his follow-up effort to his 2005 Latin Grammy nominated release Mi Tambor, and it exceeds all expectations" - JAZZIZ