Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Vocalist, composer, educator Mili Bermejo dies at 65

It is with great sorrow and a profound sense of loss that we announce the passing of Mili Bermejo on February 21 after a nine-month battle with cancer. She was 65.

A beloved fixture on the Boston music scene for more than three decades, Mili was a prolific vocalist, composer and educator. Her singular sound was defined by its unique combination of the emotionally resonant poetry and musical traditions of her Latin American heritage with the language of jazz, which she studied with such well-known masters as Jerry Bergonzi, Ran Blake and Mick Goodrick.  

Throughout her long career, she worked extensively as a bandleader and recording artist, joined by such frequent collaborators as Bruce Barth, Gary Chaffee, Eugene Friesen, Bertram Lehman, Vardan Ovsepian, Claudio Ragazzi, Tim Ray, Bert Seager and George Schuller among many others. Her final recording, Arte del Dúo (Ediciones Pentagrama), celebrates her 35-year musical partnership with her husband, bassist Dan Greenspan, and was included on Jon Garelick’s Best Jazz releases of 2016 list in the Boston Globe.

During her 32 years as a Professor at the Berklee College of Music, Mili lovingly passed on her experiences as a third-generation musician, as well as the lessons of her mentors, including soprano Elisabeth Phinney, to such next-generation talents as Chiara Civello, Lauren Kinhan (NY Voices), Alex Panayi, Sara Serpa, Luciana Souza, Esperanza Spaulding and Tierney Sutton. Her long-awaited first book, Jazz Vocal Improvisation: An Instrumental Approach, will be published by Berklee Press this Spring.

More information is available on her web site at

Donations in her memory may be made to the Elizabeth Evarts de Rham Hospice Home in Cambridge, Massachusetts.