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Felipe Salles Interconnections Ensemble: Home is Here


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Felipe Salles Interconnections Ensemble: Home is Here
For the third recording from his Interconnections Ensemble, tenor saxophonist and composer Felipe Salles chose to put the artists first—literally. That is, he had extensive conversations with each of the guest musicians on the record before composing the pieces on which each would be featured, thus highlighting their own stylistic and personal characteristics. The result is a polychromatic, adventurous album that allows Salles' multidimensionality as a composer to flourish. And with top-shelf guests such as Melissa Aldana, Paquito D'Rivera, and Nadje Noordhuis in the lineup, the results are as fulfilling as one would expect.

As was also evident on The Lullaby Project (Self-Produced, 2018) and The New Immigrant Experience (Tapestry Records, 2020), Salles uses his 19-piece band as a vehicle for hybridity. Latin-based themes merge seamlessly with pop, folk and classical idioms. Despite this ambitious cross-fertilization, Salles also brings a strong rhythmic sensibility to his compositions, so there is usually a steady groove present, ensuring that stylistic complexity will not detract from the music's engaging listenability.

The opening track, "Re-Invention," is given to D'Rivera, and it is an ideal snapshot of Salles' virtues as a composer, drawing on a Bach- inspired theme that contains a pulsing energy as the piece transitions through various Latin inflections, eminently suitable for D'Rivera's own pan- stylistic vocabulary. D'Rivera's clarinet solo is masterful, weaving a delightful pathway through the piece's gently churning rhythms; when the music turns in an Afro-Cuban direction, D'Rivera switches to alto saxophone, and his closing statement is just as infectious, leading into some superb ensemble work which concludes the track.

Other highlights include "Polymorphous," an infectious piece that features tenor saxophonist Jacques Schwarz-Bart and which makes brilliant use of the ensemble to drive the piece forward, and "Storytelling," the album's closer, a medium-tempo, multihued tune for Aldana, whose dusky tenor saxophone has a few lovely moments all to itself before the band gracefully builds behind her and she raises the energy level accordingly. Not to be outdone, Noordhuis' potent ruminations on "Wanderlust" pack a punch, with the band alternating rhythmic registers from pop to hard-charging swing. And for sheer polyrhythmic abundance, "World Citizen" offers a plethora of grooves, driving alto saxophonist Yosvany Terry into an enticing swirl. Salles even gets his own solo moment on soprano sax on "The Promise of Happiness," as does guitarist Chico Pinheiro, although this piece is a bit more muted than the album's livelier cuts, at least until an invigorating up-tempo segment allows Pinheiro to finally catch fire.

Vocalists have their opportunities as well, with Sofia Rei of Argentina and Magos Herrera of Mexico each getting a track. Of the two Rei may get the slight edge, as "Meridian" features the singer's rich alto intertwining craftily with the ensemble during the track's latter half; by contrast, Herrera's cut, "Two Worlds Together," drags a bit and lacks the excitement of the record's best music.

Admittedly, to focus so heavily on the guest musicians does, in a way, slight the excellent musicianship displayed by Salles' band, which is in fine form throughout Home is Here. The composer clearly knows how to tap into the distinctive gifts of his talented partners, both new and familiar, and his latest release is a fine example of his supremely collegial instincts.

Track Listing

Re-Invention; Meridian; Polymorphous; Wanderlust; Two Worlds Together; World Citizen; The Promise of Happiness; Storytelling.


Felipe Salles: saxophone; Jonathan Ball: saxophone; John Mastroianni: saxophone; Mike Caudill: saxophone; Carl Clements: saxophone; Tyler Burchfield: saxophone; Don Clough: trumpet; Jeff Holmes: trumpet; Seth Bailey: trumpet; Bill Fanning: trumpet; Jerry Sabatini: trumpet; Clayton DeWalt: trombone; Randy Pingrey: trombone; Bob Pilkington: trombone; Angel Subero: trombone, bass; Kevin Grudecki: guitar; Luke Glavanovits: vibraphone; Nando Michelin: piano; Keala Kaumeheiwa: bass, acoustic; Bertram Lehmann: drums.

Additional Instrumentation

Salles: soprano sax (7); Melissa Aldana: tenor saxophone (8); Paquito D’Rivera: clarinet/alto saxophone (1); Magos Herrera: vocals (5); Nadje Noordhuis: flugelhorn (4); Chico Pinheiro: guitar (7); Sofia Rei: vocals (2); Jacques Schwarz- Bart: tenor saxophone (3); Yosvany Terry: alto saxophone (6).

Album information

Title: Home is Here | Year Released: 2023 | Record Label: Tapestry Records

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