13 October 1961, Norwalk, Connecticut, USA. Mendoza started classical guitar and piano lessons from an early age. He took up the trumpet at high school and eventually obtained a music composition degree at Ohio University. He moved to Los Angeles to complete his graduate studies at the University of Southern California. A highly skilled arranger with multicultural influences, Mendoza has become very well known in Europe, thanks in large part to a spell as arranger and conductor with the German WDR Big Band, based in Cologne. Performances with this band have often featured visiting American jazzmen, among them Charlie Mariano, Marc Johnson, Joe Lovano, Peter Erskine, Dave Liebman and Michael Brecker, many of whom Mendoza had already worked with as a composer/arranger. In 1992 he released the twice-Grammy-nominated Jazzpaña, co-leading the WDR Big Band with Arif Mardin. Sketches was premiered at the 1993 Berlin Jazz Festival, and showcased Liebmans...