In the 1950s, Mellé's paintings and sculptures were shown in New York galleries and he created the cover art for albums by Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk and Sonny Rollins. Mellé played the tenor and baritone saxophone with George Wallington, Max Roach, Tal Farlow, Oscar Pettiford, Ed Thigpen, Kenny Dorham and Zoot Sims, and led a number of sessions recorded for the Blue Note and Prestige labels between 1953 and 1957.
It was Mellé who introduced engineer Rudy Van Gelder to Alfred Lion, Blue Note Records founder in 1952. Lion had been impressed with the sound of Mellé's recordings, which were engineered by Van Gelder. Van Gelder was responsible for hundreds of recordings on Blue Note, virtually every session on the label from 1953 to 1967.
As a film and television composer, Mellé was one of the first to use electronic instruments (which he built himself), either alone or as an added voice among the string, wind, brass, and percussion sections of the orchestra. He was the first to compose a main theme for an American television series arranged entirely for electronic instruments (Rod Serling's Night Gallery).
His film and television credits span 125 motion pictures including My Sweet Charlie, That Certain Summer, The Savage is Loose, The Andromeda Strain, Starship Invasions, The Judge and Jake Wyler, several Columbo TV movies, Frankenstein: The True Story, The Six Million Dollar Man, Night Gallery and Kolchak: The Night Stalker.
As composer and arranger
- Gil Melle Quintet (Blue Note, 1953)
- New Faces, New Sounds (Blue Note, 1953)
- Five Impressions of Color (Blue Note, 1955)
- Patterns in Jazz (Blue Note, 1956)
- Primitive Modern (Prestige, 1956)
- Gil's Guests (Prestige, 1956)
- Quadrama (Prestige, 1957)
- Tome VI (Verve, 1967)
- Andromeda Strain (1969)
- Waterbirds (1970)
- Mindscapes (Blue Note, 1991)
- The Organization (Intrada, 2010). World premiere release of the original soundtrack of the 1971 film. Produced by Douglas Fake. Liner notes by James Phillips. Art Direction by Joe Sikoyak.
- Borderline (Intrada, 2012). World premiere release of the original score to the 1980 film. Produced by Douglas Fake. Liner Notes by James Phillips. Art Direction by Joe Sikoyak.
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