Apr 1, 2020
Felipe Salles lives a few towns away from me in Western Massachusetts, but his latest album tackles a subject that concerns people from all over the Western hemisphere. The New Immigrant Experience, written and conducted by Salles with the 18-piece Interconnections Ensemble, is a powerful new multimedia work inspired by the lives of “Dreamers,” the almost seven hundred thousand individuals currently protected by DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Written by Salles –who emigrated from Brazil to the United States in 1995 – and developed with the aid of a Guggenheim fellowship, the work uses speech cadences and melodic motifs based on key words as its main source of musical material. The compelling and personal stories it tells were collected through interviews Salles conducted with a group of nine Dreamers during the summer of 2018. Videos of the interviews were created by Fernanda Faya, and eventually incorporated into a multimedia presentation. A DVD of the work is included in the physical purchase. The work premiered in April 2018 at performances in New York City and Massachusetts, and was subsequently recorded in the studio.
A native of São Paulo, Brazil, Felipe Salles has been an active musician in the US since 1995, working and recording with prominent jazz artists including Randy Brecker, David Liebman, Lionel Loueke, Duduka Da Fonseca, Maucha Adnet, 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. His arrangements and compositions have been performed by some of the top groups in the world including The Metropole Orchestra, UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra, and the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra. Salles has released seven critically acclaimed recordings as a leader, making DownBeat Magazine best albums of the year list in 2013, 2014, 2017 and again in 2019.
The Felipe Salles Interconnections Ensemble features : saxes/woodwinds Jonathan Ball, alto and soprano saxes, flute, piccolo; Mike Caudill, tenor and soprano saxes, flute, clarinet, electronic effects; Rick DiMuzio, tenor sax, clarinet (Kevin Sun will be performing the CD release dates); Tyler Burchfield, bari sax, bass clarinet, clarinet; trumpets/ flugelhorns Jeff Holmes; Don Clough; Yuta Yamaguchi; Eric Smith, electronic effects; Doug Olsen; trombones Clayton DeWalt; Randy Pingrey (George Murphy will be performing the CD release dates); Bulut Gülen; Angel Subero, bass trombone; pianist Nando Michelin; guitarist Kevin Grudecki; vibraphonist Ryan Fedak; bassist Keala Kaumeheiwa; and drummer/percussionist Bertram Lehmann.
Musical selections from The New Immigrant Experience include "Did You Eat..." and "It's Just Lines on the Ground."