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Felipe Salles Interconnections Ensemble

Opened by UMass Amherst Jazz Ensemble I
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Part of Big Band Mondays at Regattabar!

“Felipe Salles is one of the most creative composers on the modern scene. His combinations of different rhythms, harmonies and Latin-American melodies inspire me to play lines that come out of my instruments fresh and natural like the current of a river. I love Felipe’s writing!” -Paquito D’Rivera

“Working with Felipe and seeing the whole process of how he wrote the music was a beautiful and inspiring experience” -Melissa Aldana

“Exciting, adventurous music all around. The new project Home is Here presents Salles at his best. What a joy to have contributed and being part of this beautiful musical landscape by Felipe. Bravo, irmão!” -Chico Pinheiro

The Felipe Salles Interconnections Ensemble

Created in 2016, The Interconnections Ensemble is the brainchild of Brazilian composer Felipe Salles. The meaning of the word interconnections is present in this ensemble in many levels of its artistic vision, including dualities of musical and cultural influences, as well as the juxtaposition of composition and improvisation.

The Felipe Salles Interconnections Ensemble brings together modern large jazz ensemble writing, contemporary classical textures and Latin American rhythmic influences in a unique way. The music represents the interconnection between many cultural influences, ranging from Brazilian, American, Argentinean, and European musical sources. The approach to composition, using layers of melodic and rhythmic counterpoint, also expresses the interconnectivity behind the musical product. Finally, the exploration of individual improvisation, as a contrast to collective playing, adds another dimension to the ensemble’s sound.

This new large jazz ensemble esthetic is a product of decades of research and planning joining forces with the incredible musical talents and experience of some of New England's finest jazz musicians. The members of the Interconnections Ensemble have performed with Chicago, Aretha Franklin, and The Boston Pops, among others.

The Felipe Salles Interconnections Ensemble released their first record, The Lullaby Project and Other Works for Large Ensemble, in 2018, on the Tapestry/Capri label, and their second album, a CD/DVD set, entitled The New Immigrant Experience, was out on March 20, 2020. Both albums have received critical acclaim, including 4 and 4.5 starts from Downbeat Magazine. Their hird large ensemble recording, Home is Here (Tapestry, 2023), features an array of guest artists, including, Paquito D’Rivera, Melissa Aldana, Magos Herrera, Sofia Rei, Nadje Noordhuis, Chico Pinheiro, Yosvany Terry and Chico Pinheiro.

Felipe Salles, composer and conductor


Jonathan Ball, alto and soprano saxes, flute, piccolo

John Mastroianni, alto and soprano saxes, clarinet, flute

Mike Caudill, tenor and soprano saxes, flute, clarinet, electronic effects

Tyler Burchfield, tenor sax, flute, alto flute

Melanie Howell Brooks, bari sax, bass clarinet


Don Clough

Jeff Holmes

Seth Bailey

Jerry Sabatini


Clayton DeWalt

Randy Pingrey

Bob Pilkington

Angel Subero, bass

Rhythm Section

Nando Michelin, Piano

Kevin Grudecki, Guitar

Luke Glavanovits, Vibraphone

Keala Kaumeheiwa, Bass

Bertram Lehmann, Drums and Percussion


A native of São Paulo, Brazil, Felipe Salles has been an active musician in the US since 1995, where he has worked and recorded with prominent jazz artists, including Randy Brecker, Paquito D’Rivera, David Liebman, Melissa Aldana, Lionel Loueke, Jerry Bergonzi, Chico Pinheiro, Magos Herrera, Sofia Rei, Yosvany Terry, Jovino Santos Neto, Oscar Stagnaro, Luciana Souza, and Bob Moses. He has toured extensively in Europe, North and South America, India, and Australia, as a sideman and as a leader of his own group.

Salles is a 2018 Guggenheim Foundation Composition Fellow, a 2021 South Arts Jazz Road Creative Residency Grant Fellowship recipient, a 2015 and 2023 NALAC Fund for the Arts Grant winner, a 2009-2010 winner of the French American Jazz Exchange Grant, and a 2005-2006 winner of the Chamber Music America New Works: Creation and Presentation Grant Program, grants sponsored by The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. He was awarded First Place in the 2001 Concurso SGAE de Jazz "TETE MONTOLIU", 2001, with his composition The Return of The Chromo Sapiens.

His arrangements and compositions have been performed by some of the top groups in the world including The Metropole Orchestra, UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra, Cayuga Chamber Orchestra, Amazonas Band, Helsinki Philharmonic Violas, Meta4 String Quartet, Manhattan School of Music Jazz Orchestra, Manhattan School of Music Jazz Philharmonic Orchestra, New England Conservatory Jazz Orchestra, and New England Conservatory Wind Ensemble, among others.

Salles has released ten critically acclaimed recordings as a leader.

Departure (Tapestry, 2012) received 4-stars from Downbeat Magazine and a place on their best albums of the year list in 2013. They noted that Salles is adept at “crafting pieces that juggle intriguing complexity with buoyant rhythms and lush colors.” JazzTimes Magazine noted that “Felipe Salles blends the visceral and the cerebral on his fascinating fifth album, infusing classical modernist strains with the buoyant rhythms of his Brazilian homeland.” Ugandan Suite (Tapestry, 2014) also earned a place on Downbeat Magazine’s best albums of the year list in 2014 and was praised by jazz guitarist Lionel Loueke: “This is one of the best progressive works I have heard in a long time. What a great blend of classical, African, and Jazz music.” Varanda (Tapestry, 2016) with the Brazilian jazz collective titled The Reunion Project, also earned critical acclaim including 4.5 stars in Downbeat Magazine.

The Lullaby Project and Other Works for Large Jazz Ensemble (Tapestry, 2018) is Salles’ first large jazz ensemble recording, and was composed for and recorded by his own Interconnections Ensemble, to critical acclaim (Downbeat Magazine’s best albums of the year list in 2019).

His second large ensemble recording, the ambitious The New Immigrant Experience (Tapestry, 2020), was released as a CD/DVD set, to critical acclaim, including 4.5 stars review from Downbeat Magazine, making the magazine’s list of best albums of 2020. He has recently released a quartet album, Tiyo’s Songs of Life (Tapestry, 2022), featuring Avery Sharpe, Zaccai Curtis and Jonathan Barber.

His third large ensemble recording, Home is Here (Tapestry, 2023) to critical acclaim, including 4.5 stars review from Downbeat Magazine. Continuing Salles' musical explorations of immigration and its challenges, Home is Here features an array of guest artists who are also immigrants: legendary saxophonist/clarinetist Paquito D’Rivera (Cuba); vocalist Sofia Rei (Argentina); saxophonist Jacques Schwarz-Bart (Guadeloupe); flugelhornist Nadje Noordhuis (Australia); vocalist Magos Herrera (Mexico); saxophonist/percussionist Yosvany Terry (Cuba); guitarist Chico Pinheiro (Brazil); and saxophonist Melissa Aldana (Chile).

In a recent feature article by Ted Panken for Downbeat Magazine, Jacques Schwarz-Bart described “To me, Felipe’s music is truly a beacon that is open to all that humanity has to offer. I can hear classical music. I hear South American music. I hear jazz. I hear African music. It’s blended very harmoniously and effortlessly, with a lot of emotion and expression. The writing is flawless.” Paquito D’Rivera completed “It was very rhythmically and harmonically creative. Felipe has internalized the philosophy that jazz, originated mainly by African-American musicians, is a multinational language because it comes from a multinational country.”

Felipe Salles is a D’Addario Woodwinds Select Reeds and Conn-Selmer Saxophones Artist/Clinician. He currently leads both The Felipe Salles Group and The Felipe Salles’ Interconnections Ensemble and works as a member of the New World Jazz Composers Octet, Kyle Saulnier's Awakening Orchestra, Alex Alvear's Mango Blue, and Gonzalo Grau's (Grammy Nominated) La Clave Secreta.

Felipe Salles has a Masters and a Graduate Diploma in Jazz Performance from New England Conservatory, and a Doctorate in Jazz Arts Advancement from Manhattan School of Music. He is a Professor of Jazz and African American Music Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he has taught since 2010.