The New York City-born musician, composer, and painter signed with Blue Note at age 19, the first white artist on the label's roster. In the 1960s, Mell_ became interested in the nascent electronic music movement. He began to build electronic instruments, and played with the Electronauts, an all-electronic jazz ensemble.
In the 1970s, Mell_ moved to Los Angeles to compose scores for film and television, including the 1971 movie The Andromeda Strain. Throughout his career, he was also devoted to visual art; his works appeared on his own album covers as well as covers for Miles Davis, Thelonius Monk, and Sonny Rollins.
"Gil Mell_ was a true Renaissance man," Blue Note president Bruce Lundvall said. "A multi-talented artist."