"Felipe Salles has truly taken a step into the future with this CD. He has found a way to incorporate the rich musical heritage of his native country, Brazil ( with more than a nod to the genius Hermeto Pascoal), while at the same time incorporating sounds and colors from the advanced harmonies of 20th century contemporary classical music. Possessing a gift for orchestration and arranging, Felipe's music is definitely pointing to the future."
Brazilian music has established itself as one of the richest mother lodes of inspiration for musicians from all over the world. It is sophisticated in its melodic, rhythmic, harmonic and lyrical aspects, and by now most people have become familiarized with some of the works of Jobim, Moacir Santos, Villa Lobos and other Brazilian composers. Many other musicians from all over the planet have incorporated Brazilian elements into their music, showing the influence of bossa nova or samba jazz in their work.
This is not what Felipe Salles’ excellent new work is all about. As a Brazilian saxophonist and composer, he has gone deep inside the wellsprings of our culture, much deeper than most people have gone. He is not interested in showing that he knows the music well – no points to be proven here. He speaks the true language of Universal Music, reaching both inside the little known regional aspects of maracatu, frevo and choro as well as the outer reaches of contemporary harmonic and rhythmic languages. The record is totally Brazilian in its sound, but it achieves this by the natural use of native forms, employed in an intuitive way. Over these basic strata, Felipe has carefully built elaborate layers of instrumental voices and textures, chosen wisely an excellent group of musicians who are both equally adept at interpreting his charts as at interacting freely through the language of modern improvisation. The result is satisfying in many levels. At times the listener is reminded of the subtle textural arranging work of Gil Evans or Astor Piazzola (as in the mysterious intro to Family Ties), at times of the wild flights of fancy of the sorcerer of sounds Hermeto Pascoal (as in Seven Days). Anyone who is familiar with the works of these great creators knows very well that their music is inimitable – there are no short cuts to the core, other than by meticulous and dedicated musical practice and discipline. And it is here that Felipe Salles excels. His seriousness and devotion to the musical art are present in each note, without sounding contrived or taking himself too seriously. His playing on a wide variety of saxophones, flutes and clarinets is refreshing and expressive, challenging the listener to embark with him on a journey through many colors and moods.
Another characteristic of a true creator of universal music is the ability to engage and inspire musicians from other cultures than one’s own to join and partake of the essence of the music. This is evident in the ensemble work of this recording, where the participants show their willingness to gather under Felipe’s ideas, without ever giving up their individual musical thumbprints. Jacam Manricks on woodwinds, Joel Yennior on trombone, Nando Michelin on piano and melodica, Fernando Huergo on bass, Bertram Lehmann on drums, Rogerio Boccato on percussion and Laura Arpiainen on violin prove to be an excellent team, creating a consistent sound within the diversity of Felipe’s compositions.
Overall, I am very pleased by this work. It satisfies all my musical needs: interesting writing, inspired playing and challenging ensemble work. I totally recommend it to anyone who is in search of quality in today’s music panorama.
Quebre tudo, Felipe! Parabéns!
Jovino Santos Neto