Melissa Morgan feat. Gilbert Castellanos

Jazz Vocalist

Wed, Jan 5

Melissa Morgan was born in New York City and grew up in Teaneck, New Jersey, where she began studying piano at age four.

During high school Melissa began singing with local choirs and was soon performing with select classical vocal groups across the country and abroad.

A highlight of her choir experience was a seven-country tour of Europe in 1996 with the U.S. Youth Chorale. As a student Melissa was recognized with numerous awards including 3 gold cups in the New Jersey Federation of Music solo piano competition, top ranking in the New Jersey all-state choir, and runner up for the New Jersey Governor’s award for vocal music.

In 1998, she entered SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Music and studied with many prominent artists including Yolande Bavan of jazz vocal group, Lambert, Hendricks & Bavan, Jon Faddis, Mark Murphy and Roseanna Vitro.

While attending Purchase, Melissa appeared with the conservatory’s Jazz and Latin Jazz Orchestras and was featured vocalist with the Purchase Jazz Band during a 1999 tour of Spain. In May 2002, she received a B.A. in jazz vocal performance.

Since graduating from Purchase, Melissa has been a regular performer at some of New York’s top jazz room such as Cleopatra’s Needle, Flute, G Bar, Smalls, Smoke and St. Nick’s Pub.

She has appeared with her own trio as well as other artists including Harold Mabern, David Hazeltine and Sam Yahel. In 2001 she was featured in performances with Jon Faddis and the Dizzy Gillespie Alumni All-Stars at the Blue Note in New York. Melissa performed at the 2002 New York Women of Jazz Festival at Smoke jazz club, and that same year was a guest on the Metro TV-NY program “Where to hear jazz in New York City”.

In September of 2004, she was named a semi-finalist in the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition in Washington D.C., the most prestigious jazz competition in the world, hosted by Billy Dee Williams and Herbie Hancock. Judges for the competition were luminaries Quincy Jones, Al Jarreau, Kurt Elling, Jimmy Scott, Dee Dee Bridgewater and Flora Purim.

The Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition has launched the careers of a number of major young jazz stars.

Her new album, Until I Met You, features jazz greats Gerald Clayton and Randy Napoleon.

“Many young jazz vocalists reach into the book of standards for their first recording. Melissa Morgan follows the tradition, but in a way that works to her advantage…. Morgan succeeds with the combination of her vocal style and free-spirited arrangements.” –

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