Flash Review: Felipe Salles’ Interconnections Ensemble: ‘Home is Here’ Album Release
By Jordan Carter
Friday, June 30, 2023
Without any introduction, The Felipe Salles Interconnections Ensemble took the National Sawdust stage at 7:30pm on June 22nd and began swinging like the first round of a boxing match. The ensemble performed tracks from their most recent album, Home is Home. The album centers the experiences of immigrant jazz musicians who are also featured artists on the project. The first selection, titled “Re-Inventions,” was an expression of how often jazz musicians re-invent themselves in their career. This piece shifted from trombone choir moments to unison saxophone melodies, grooving in a way that made it almost impossible not to nod along.
As a percussionist myself, I couldn’t help but pay close attention to the vibraphonist, Luke Glavanovits, in the back of the band with four mallets in his hands throughout the performance. Glavanovits truly shined that evening on the piece “Two Words Together,” starting with two notes that are a tritone apart. Used commonly in horror movie film scores, a tritone is a dissonant-sounding interval avoided for centuries by composers nicknamed “The Devil's Interval.” An unlikely duo, the vibraphone’s tritone theme was played in unison by bass clarinetist Melanie Howell-Brooks with the ensemble providing a dark groove underneath.
The dark motifs were halted by Howell-Brooks’’s upbeat solo, notably the first jazz bass clarinet solo I have ever heard or seen. Her tone was smooth and sultry, like melted chocolate, seamlessly flowing between the ensemble’s minor chords and Glavanovits’s solo, which involved the full range of the vibraphone. With four mallets in hand, it can be easy to play incorrect pitches, but Glavanovits’s nonstop fury of notes, played at a commanding yet agreeable volume, gave listeners a sense of confidence and determination. The piece was written for Mexican vocalist, Magos Herrera, and though there was not a vocalist present that evening, both soloists sang gracefully through their instruments.
“Home is Home” left me wanting to travel to all the places Salles has been blessed to associate with home, as each selection transported me to a new safe place where I was greeted with the hospitality of jazz culture and experimentation.
My favorite moment of the evening was provided by guitarist Kevin Grudecki, during one of the final pieces performed titled “The Promise of Happiness.” Prior to counting off the chart, Salles explained it was created to express how Brazilians believe jazz to be a communal, non-hierarchical experience, as opposed to American jazz artists who want to display power as lead soloist or bandleader. Ironically, the piece began with an effortlessly fluid guitar solo by Grudecki and featured him throughout. The guitarist traded unison melodic patterns with multiple instruments from vibraphone, flute, and piano, all while floating on a cloud of piano, saxophone, and drum kit.
All in all, “Home is Home” left me wanting to travel to all the places Salles has been blessed to associate with home, as each selection transported me to a new safe place where I was greeted with the hospitality of jazz culture and experimentation.
About Jordan Carter
Jordan W. Carter is a revolutionary emcee, multi-percussionist, and music educator hailing from Southwest Atlanta. He is the son of Valerie and Derrick Carter as well as the brother of Nia Carter, Derrick Carter Jr., and the late Sherita Carter. Jordan makes music to express himself creatively, put on for his hometown, and to help others find God in their own uniqueness. His musical production often incorporates 808s, electric piano, and vibraphone as homage to his jazz, southern marching band, and classical background. Jordan’s majestic blend of these styles inspire an uninhibited love for all people. He currently lives in Brooklyn, NY with his longtime partner, Priya, and their two dogs BiBi and Cheeni.