Ozzie Melendez Living The Dream

Through out his career Ozzie Melendez has recorded, performed, and toured with many big name artists. From Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, Ray Charles, Mariah Carey and Celine Dion, the list goes on and on. He's recorded on numerous movie soundtracks and performed on hit television shows such as David Letterman, Jay Leno, The Cosby Show and many others. Not to mention the numerous shows he's played on Broadway, including Capeman, Movin' Out, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, and Fascinating Rhythm. For over 20 years Melendez had the opportunity to work with living legend Willie Colon and served as his musical director for the last six years they were together. In 2002, he joined musical sensation, Marc Anthony’s band playing trombone and was with the singer before he became the international superstar he is today. He has nothing but high praise for the man he happily gets to share a stage with. “Marc is an unbelievable singer; when he performs I can’t even take my eyes off of him, says Melendez. He’s that amazing.”

As a freelance musician, touring with multiple artists is common; trying to take on what you can and making it all work out is the challenge. For the past four years, Melendez has also been touring with Diana Ross, another great experience with an amazing legend, he says. While at times things can become a bit crazy, especially if the artists both decide to tour at the same time. Luckily, for this musician that hasn’t been the case very often in his career. “If it happens, you recomend someone as a backup, Melendez says. But things can get a bit hairy when an artist wants YOU and not someone else. As his friends will attest to, it seems he’s been very lucky and everything usually falls into place. He’s even played for two different artists on the same night with friends saying they need to “Clone the Ozbone.”

Looking back on his career, Melendez admits that sometimes he has taken it for granted, but realizes how “cool” his job is. He recounts a time when he played with Clarence Clemens and had such a great time he almost forgot he was working. “I was having so much fun, I actually left without getting paid,”says Melendez. He's played other memorable events, such as the 2000 New Years Millenium Concert at Madison Square Garden with Billy Joel, which he describes as incredible, with Ray Charles, on the campaign trail with President Obama, as well as former President Clinton, and alongside Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney and Billy Joel in the summer of 2008 for the last concert ever at Shea Stadium before it was torn down. Melendez is currently working on a CD; production of which has been ongoing for the past year and a half. If his trombone playing wasn't impressive enough, he's also the lead singer on the tracks in both english and spanish!

Melendez is a strong believer in continuing to learn and staying educated on his craft. It’s never good to put all your eggs in one basket, says the musician. “You never want to be stuck doing one thing; you want to keep things fresh, it’s what makes you better.” As someone once told him, “To improve is to change, so change constantly.” Looking at his long and prosperous career in a business that is not only difficult to get in to, but to sustain over the years, it looks like Melendez has found the key to his success!

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