Charlotte Observer, July 2019 — At age 18, Ariel Mejia of Charlotte is a jazz phenom. This summer he’s participating in the National Youth Orchestra Jazz program. The group will play Carnegie Hall later this month and then head to Asia to play concerts in places like Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. Courtesy of Carnegie Hall.
Ten words suffice to describe Ariel Mejia: Hot horn. Cool head. Swift hands. Old soul, musically speaking.
There’s a lot more to the 18-year-old than that, though. He was grown-up enough to move from Charlotte to Winston-Salem for his last year of high school at UNC School of the Arts.
He knows Spanish and has investigated Greek and Portuguese. Yet his main language this summer and probably for the next six decades will be jazz.
He’s a prized graduate of Jazz Arts Charlotte, a member of UNCSA’s Trumpet Studio, and leader of a small combo that plays gigs in Winston-Salem during the school year.
And this month, he and 21 musicians from across America embark on an Asian tour with National Youth Orchestra Jazz.