For more than three decades, Mili Bermejo combined the emotionally resonant poetry and musical traditions of her Latin American heritage with the language of jazz to create a unique body of work as one of Boston’s premier vocalists, composers and recording artists.
A member of the Berklee College of Music faculty from 1984 until her death in 2017, she also enjoyed a long career as an educator, passing on the lessons of life-long mentors Jerry Bergonzi, Ran Blake, Gary Chaffee, Mick Goodrick and Elisabeth Phinney to such next-generation artists as Chiara Civello, Lauren Kinhan (NY Voices), Alex Panayi, Sara Serpa, Luciana Souza, Esperanza Spaulding and Tierney Sutton.
Born in Buenos Aires, Mili grew up in the socially and artistically progressive Mexico City of the 1970’s. In her youth, her prominent musician parents opened their home to all kinds of artists, writers and activists, laying the groundwork for her eclectic and inclusive musical vision, as well as her understanding of the social responsibility of the performer.
After a childhood of playing music with her siblings, each becoming an acclaimed artist in his/her own right, she went on to study classical composition at the National School of Music (UNAM) before coming to Boston in 1980 to study jazz arranging and composition at Berklee, which invited her to join the faculty following her graduation.
The first woman to receive the prestigious Achievement in Jazz Award from New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA), Mili also served as a panelist for the Cambridge Arts Council, Doris Duke Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), taught clinics around the world, and recorded a dozen releases as a leader/co-leader.
Her final recording, Arte del Duo (Ediciones Pentagrama), celebrating her 35-year musical partnership with her husband, bassist Dan Greenspan, was released in October 2016.