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Felipe Salles awarded a 2018 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship in Music Composition!



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March 30 - New England Saxophone Festival at UMass Amherst - 8am to 9pm.


April 9 – Felipe Salles Interconnections Ensemble
The New Immigrant Experience World Premiere at UMass Amherst Chapel
Pannel discussion @6pm
Concert @ 7:30pm

April 11 - Felipe Salles Interconnections Ensemble
The New Immigrant Experience NYC Premiere at National Sawdust
Concert @ 7pm

April 13 and 14 - The New Immigrant Experience Recording in Acton, MA

April 27 - UMass Amherst Studio Orchestra concert - Fine Arts Center Concert Hall @7:30pm


Kokkola, Finland
Guest Artist at Central Ostrobothnia Conservatory (Keski-Pohjanmaan konservatorio).
Visit arranged in co-operation with Centria University of Applied Science’s music department

May 2 @10am-12pm Brazilian rhythms lecture
May 3  @7pm - Concert at the Central Ostrobothnia Conservatory main hall

Helsinki, Finland
Guest conductor/soloist with UMO Jazz Orchestra

May 6-8 - Rehearsals 
May 9  @7:00 pm – Concert at Savoy Theatre, Helsinki
May 10 @7:00 pm - Concert at Kerava Hall, Kerava

Malmö, Sweden
Guest at Fridhems Folk High School, Jazz department 
May 13 @10 am-4 pm – Brazilian music workshop 
May  14 @9am- 12pm - Saxophone workshop

May 15-19 TBA

Lisbon, Portugal
Guest at Universidade Lusíada
May 20 – Brazilian Music Masterclass 10am-12pm 
May 21 – Large Ensemble Composition Masterclass 10am-12pm 
May 23-25 – Performances at Hot Clube de Portugal, Lisbon – 10:30pm. 

May 28-June 1 - Coaching The Victory Players during the Massachusetts International Festival of the Arts 2019 Summer Residency.


June 2  - Felipe Salles Interconnections Ensemble debut! @ Birdland, NYC, 5:30pm Set
Info and tickets:

June 29 - July 6 - IASJ Meeting in Zagreb, Croatia.


July 15-19 - Teaching at UMass Amherst Jazz in July


Felipe salles


A native of São Paulo, Brazil, Dr. Felipe Salles has served as an Associate Professor of Jazz and African-American Music Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst since 2010. An active musician in the US since 1995, he has worked and recorded with prominent jazz artists, including Randy Brecker, David Liebman, Lionel Loueke, Jerry Bergonzi, Chico Pinheiro, Jovino Santos Neto, Oscar Stagnaro, Duduka Da Fonseca, Maucha Adnet, Tony Lujan, 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 2015 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, 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 seven critically acclaimed recordings as a leader. Departure (Tapestry, 2012) received 4-stars from DownBeat 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’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, 2017) 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 is Salles’ first large jazz ensemble recording, and was composed for and recorded by his own Interconnections Ensemble.

Dr. Salles is a D’Addario Woodwinds Select Reeds Artist/Clinician and an Andreas Eastman 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.




The Lullaby Project and Other Works For Large Ensemble (2018)


“This is the kind of album that will greatly appeal to those of us who value creative jazz-classical fusion, but will undoubtedly confuse or alienate those who only want small-group improvisation. Highly recommended.”

Lynn René Bayley, The Art Music Lounge

“A solid set for those who like the other side of big band, this well played, well executed set surfaces as solid listening music that's easy to enjoy throughout.“

Chris Spector, Midwest Record

“Not sure if that prepares the listener for the brilliance of these pieces, the excellent arrangements, the intelligent solos, and the power of the ensemble. “

Richard B. Kamins, Step Tempest

“[…] it weaves its way into finding the bridge between forms so brilliantly expressed by this stunning recording.”

Donald Elfman, The New York City Jazz Record

“The Lullaby Project simultaneously is dense and accessible, and warrants replays to take in Salles’ cultural observations, compositional counterpoint and the emotional trajectories.”

Kira Grunenberg, DownBeat Magazine (4 stars review)

“Salles' concepts are brought vividly to life by the nineteen-piece Interconnections Ensemble which has no trouble navigating his often intricate scores, whose essence ranges from Baroque to modern classical motifs, and from jazz to Brazilian folk music.”

Jack Bowers, All About Jazz

“Far from being a purely abstract work composed and played entirely in the “tradition” Mr Salles has crafted strong extra­musical elements, incorporating poems – even perhaps religious texts, certainly stories possessing an ambitious philosophical “programme” into the suite.”

Raul Da Gama, Latin Jazz Network


The Reunion Project’s Varanda (2016)

"A totally smoking session that doesn't recognize borders too well, this is real pals doing real playing bottomed with real telepathy.”

Chris Spector, Midwest Record

"This is challenging yet tuneful modern jazz that doesn't always wear its Brazilian pedigree on its sleeve".

Allen Morrison, DownBeat Magazine, four and a half stars (out of five) (July 2017)

“Together the tone of the music on Varanda is often lingeringly elegiac, and may well surprise those who associate Brasilian music primarily with the raucous samba than with such music as played by The Reunion Project, which lives and breathes in all its anthropophagic glory."

Raul da Gama, Latin jazz Network

“An uplifting album in so many ways, The Reunion Project’s ‘Varanda’ will be an album I come back to whenever I need a bit of a lift. Or just because I need a reminder of how great musicians come together as friends and make great music together."

Mike Gates, UK Vibe

“When brought together, this crew creates a highly evolved statement that points to its place of origin while tilting Brazilian jazz on its axis.”

Dan Bilawsky, All About Jazz

Ugandan Suite (2014)

“This is a well-organized piece of music that reveals its depth with each movement. And the group sounds completely in synch with Salles’ ideas. It’s also great that Liebman is well-integrated into the band and his appearance isn’t merely a ‘star turn’. Ugandan Suite is a nice solid piece of music.”

Robert Iannapollo, Cadence Magazine

“Shape-shifting tunes, influences from all over the globe, superb musicianship, layered percussions, an inspired two reed front line rising up from those ebullient layerings, and an ensemble groove of the highest order makes Felipe Salles's Uganda Suite one of the year's highlights.”

Dan McClenaghan, All About Jazz

“This fine album not only demonstrates the positive effect that world music can have on acoustic jazz—it also underscores the fact that rock musicians don’t have the market cornered on quality concept albums.”

Alex Henderson, Jazz Inside Magazine

“On Ugandan Suite, Brazilian saxophonist Felipe Salles makes the journey with an international ensemble, focusing on the rhythms of one African nation. With solos that blow from cool to cacophony and ride over morphing polyrhythms, the music is reminiscent of the best Afro-jazz fusion of the ’70s.”

Morton Shlabotnik, Shepherd Express

“This is jazz that knows that the music is never better than when it is finding things never quite found the exact same way before”

Jeff Simon, The Buffalo News

 “[…]Ugandan Suite has programmatic themes and references. It begins with flute birdcalls, and each section is named for a specific animal. But its real subject is music, and Salles digs into specific traditions and regional styles not as pastiche but as raw material for his own fertile musical imagination.”

Jon Garelick, Downbeat Magazine (4 stars) Downbeat’s of best records of 2014 list.

“Ugandan Suite is a truly entertaining album and a gorgeous celebration of the diversity that music has to offer. Music is truly a world language and brings people together in ways other languages cannot.”

Kelly Koenig, The Examiner (5 stars)

“Named for Africa’s big five game animals, the album is really a suite of suites, each extended track having multiple sections that transition suddenly. The intricately layered percussion, employing many unusual colors without becoming overly dense, coupled with the catchy tunes, make this an easily accessible offering. Liebman’s soloing on “The Elephant” and “The Rhinoceros”, along with his improvised interactions with Salles elsewhere, are highpoints.”

Tom Greenland, for the NYC Jazz Record Global Unity

 “ It incorporates a wide range of influences including Ugandan rhythms and percussion instruments but retains a strong jazz pulse, especially with fellow saxophonist David Liebman.“

Peter Bevan, The Northern Echo Newspaper, England 

“The suite conveys the expanse of the savannah, the excitement resulting from the animals’ movements, the contrasts and the unity that are inherent in primordial nature. The musicians paint copious colorful, authentic soundscapes – Brazil meets Africa, tradition meet modernity.”

Rainer Bratfisch, Jazzpodium Magazine, Germany


Departure (2012)

"São Paulo native 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." He also states that,  "This supple, subtle album is the work of a fine player and gifted composer conversant in whatever musical form he attempts."

Carlo Wolff, JazzTimes magazine

" (...) Salles manages to navigate those treacherous shoals, crafting pieces that juggle intriguing complexity with buoyant rhythms and lush colors." "What’s most fascinating about Departure is his success in translating that approach to a more nimble small band without losing any of the richness or diversity." Downbeat is the most important and the most traditional jazz publication in the world.

Shaun Brady, Downbeat magazine (4 stars) Downbeat magazine’s best records of 2013 list

 “[…][Felipe’s] tone is thus informed by a gravitas that belies a majesty that not many saxophonists can speak of and it behooves a musician like him to be taken seriously especially as he plays with astounding expression and deep emotion.” and “A talent with so much to offer is irrepressible and as his repertoire increases Mr. Salles will surely become a major player in the burgeoning world of contemporary music.”

Raul da Gama, Latin Jazz Network website (5 stars, Album of the Week)

“The richness and variety of Salles’s writing, nine outstanding original compositions in which jazz, Latin/Brazilian and classical musical influences may be heard, is the co-leading story here. The other prominent story-line is the top-tier quality of the performances from all participants”

Don Lerman , Cadence Magazine 

“Felipe Salles has truly blended the best of several worlds in his music, and this CD not only demonstrates the beauty and success in which he does this in his music, but also the considerable conviction in which the musicians perform it.”

Frank Bongiorno, The Saxophone Journal







In Reverse Chronological Order

  1. Felipe Salles Interconnections Ensemble The Lullaby Project and Other Works for Large Ensemble, CD (Tapestry Records, September 21, 2018). Credited as Composer, Conductor, Performer and Producer.

  2. Frank Martin: Music for Winds - Concerto pour les Instruments à Vent et le Piano; Concert Suite from Ein Totentanz zu Basel; Zwischen Rhone und Rhein March, Massachusetts Chamber Players, Matthew Westgate (conductor), Frank Martin (Composer), CD (MSR Classics Label, 2017). Credited as Performer, tenor saxophone.

  3. The Reunion Project Varanda, CD (Tapestry Records, 2016). Credited as Composer, Performer and Producer.

  4. Guilherme Ribeiro’s Tempo, CD (Soundfinger Label, Brazil, May 10th, 2015). Credited as Performer.

  5. Bobby Medina & The Cosmopolitan Pops Orchestra’s Between Worlds, Symphonic Latin Jazz, CD, (November, 2014). Credited as Arranger.

  6. Felipe Salles Group’s Ugandan Suite, Featuring David Liebman, CD, (Tapestry Records, 2014).

    Credited as Composer, Performer and Producer.

  7. Kyle Saulnier’s Awakening Orchestra, This Is Not The Answer, CD, (Innova Recordings, 2014).

    Credited as Performer on soprano, tenor and baritone saxophones, flute.

  8. Doug Abram’s In This Moment, CD, (Self Produced, 2014). Credited as Performer on soprano and alto saxophones.

  9. Catherine Jensen-Hole’s Songs of Love and Loss, CD, (Self Produced, 2014).

    Credited as Performer on tenor saxophone.

  10. Felipe Salles Group’s Departure, Featuring Randy Brecker, CD, (Tapestry Records, 2012).

    Credited as Composer, Performer and Producer.

  11. Eric Erhardt's A Better Fate, CD, (Tapestry Records, 2012). Credited as Producer.

  12. New World Jazz Composer’s Octet’s Breaking News, CD, (Big and Phat Jazz Productions Label, 2011. Credited as Composer and Performer.

  13. Mango Blue’s Mango, CD, (Bandcamp, 2010). Credited as Performer.

  14. Fernando Brandão’s Samba Pra Juju, CD (Blue Music Group, 2010). Credited as Performer.

  15. Pedro Bermudez’s No Limits, CD (Luizama Music, 2010). Credited as Performer.

  16. Emilio Teubal’s Un Monton De Notas CD (Not Yet Records), New York, NY, 2009. Credited as Performer.

  17. Felipe Salles Group’s Timeline, CD (Curare Records, 2009). Credited as Composer, Performer and Producer.

  18. Gonzalo Grau y La Clave Secreta’s Frutero Moderno, CD (2008) Grammy Nominated for Best Tropical Latin Album. Credited as Performer.

  19. Felipe Salles Group’s South American Suite, CD (Curare Records, 2007). Credited as Composer, Performer and Producer.

  20. Emilio Teubal’s La Bautelband self-titled first CD (Not Yet Records, 2006). Credited as Performer.

  21. Sofia Koutsovitis’s Ojala, CD, 2005. Credited as Performer.

  22. Mika Pohjola’s Leivonen Lumimyrskyssä, CD (Change Records, 2005). Credited as Performer.

  23. Katie Viqueira’s Amores Torcidos, CD (El Bandoneon XXI, 2004). Credited as Performer.

  24. Sherisse Rogers’s Sleight of hand CD (New York, 2004). Credited as Performer.

  25. Tony Lujan’s Tribute, CD (Bella Records, 2004). Credited as Arranger and Conductor.

  26. Christian Pincock’s Reflections of the City, CD, 2004. Credited as Performer.

  27. Felipe Salles Group’s Mind Motions, CD (Fresh Sound/New Talent, 2003). Credited as Composer, Performer and Producer.

  28. Nando Michelin’s Einstein’s Dream, CD (Double Time Jazz, 2003). Credited as Performer.

  29. Nando Michelin’s Brazilian Project Featuring Giana, CD (Double Time Jazz, 2002). Credited as Performer.

  30. Felipe Salles Quintet’s Further South, CD (Fresh Sound/New Talent, 2001). Credited as Composer, Performer and Producer.

  31. Dead Cat Bounce's Legends of the Nar, CD, 2001. Credited as Arranger and Performer.

  32. Mango Blue’s Immigrant Blues, CD, 2000. Credited as Performer.

  33. Black Tie Affair Orchestra, Boston, CD 2000. Credited as Performer.

  34. Dead Cat Bounce's Lucky By Association, CD, 1998. Credited as Performer.

  35. Daddy’s Junky Music Presents: The Best of Massachusetts, Boston,1996. Credited as Performer.

  36. Pacífico, Carlos Bernardo, CD, Brazil, 1996. Credited as Arranger and Performer.

  37. Sesc's O Som Da Demo 95, Double CD, Brazil, 1995. Credited as Performer.

  38. Obana, CD, Brazil, 1994. Credited as Performer.


From the NY premiere of The New Immigrant Experience, April 11, 2019.

From the NY premiere of The New Immigrant Experience, April 11, 2019.


The Felipe Salles Interconnections Ensemble brings together modern large jazz ensemble writing, contemporary classical textures and Latin American rhythmic influences in a unique way.

All music composed and arranged by Felipe Salles


Jonathan Ball, alto & soprano saxes/flute & piccolo

Aaron Dutton, alto & soprano saxes/flute

Mike Caudill, tenor sax/clarinet/flute

Richard DiMuzio, tenor sax/clarinet

Tyler Burchfield, bari sax/bass clarinet/clarinet


Jeff Holmes Don Clough Eric Smith Doug Olsen


Clayton DeWalt Bulut Gulen Randy Pingrey Angel Subero

Rhythm Section

Nando Michelin, piano

Kevin Grudecki, guitar

Ryan Fedak, vibraphone

Keala Kaumeheiwa, bass

Bertram Lehmann, drums