JAZZ from PLANET FLIPPO

JAZZ from PLANET FLIPPO

 Chicago, Illinois, USA
BandJazzWorld

Jazz from Planet Flippo has been performing and recording the unique and dynamic original compositions and arrangements of pianist Dave Flippo in Chicago since 1992. The band’s program spans a wide collection of musical styles including contemporary and world-jazz fusion originals, standards and arrangements of modern popular classics from the 60's to the present.

Band Press

Life on Mars - The Dave Flippo Trio – Chicagojazz Magazine

Pianist Dave Flippo’s release Life on Mars is not as esoteric as the title sounds. He and his trio elegantly interpret classic rock tunes with a couple of standards thrown into the mix, and endow them with a delightful sense of swing.

The overall laid-back mood the band creates bellies constantly engaging variations in their approach to the material. The Curtis Lewis/Nat Adderley-penned “Old Country” opens with lilting effervescence and hints of Latin. Flippo’s facile, charming solo filled with graceful arpeggios nods at Western classical influences. Bassist Donn De Santo embellishes the melody with lyricism before the three musicians exchange clever and inventive phrases. Haunting group performance with con-arco bass makes for a memorable conclusion.

In intriguing contrast stand such tracks as the award-winning “If Six Were Nine.” The Jimi Hendrix piece features electric instrumentation and a funky ambience. Flippo’s acerbic keyboard notes swagger with soul while De Santo lays down muscular bass lines. Another example is Bob Dylan’s “Tangled Up In Blue,” where Flippo and De Santo converse in an eloquent dialogue with plenty of deep simmer over drummer Heath Chappell’s thunderous gallop.

Flippo’s arrangements do not simply “jazzify” the originals, but tastefully infuse them with new sensibilities. On Joni Mitchell’s “Chelsea Morning,” the ensemble plays the theme with suave subtly. Flippo improvises with crystalline tones, showcasing the composition’s complex beauty. Meanwhile Stevie Wonder’s “Visions” is given a crepuscular mood with darkly hued rhythms. Flippo again gracefully exposes its sublime and emotive core.

Life on Mars may not be terribly innovative or groundbreaking, but thanks to the high-caliber artistry of the individual musicians and their superb camaraderie, it is pleasantly alluring. This enjoyable and captivating work puts a fresh spin on these much-loved songs without detracting from their inherent appeal.

—Hrayr Attarian

musicians:
Dave Flippo – Piano and keyboard
Donn De Santo – Electric and acoustic bass
Heath Chappell – Drums

Tao Tunes (review) – Chicago Jazz Magazine- Hrayer Attarian

" . . . the music itself reflects the texts beauty and wisdom, even without recitation ... Tao Tunes will satisfy those who like a philosophical bent to their jazz."

Dave Flippo Paves a Musical Path to the Ancient Wisdom of the Tao Te Ching – Chicago Music Examiner-by Neil Tesser

"And now, in the category of “Bet you didn’t see that one coming,” I give you the new album by Chicago pianist, composer, and vocalist Dave Flippo. But whether it’s the craftsmanship of the writing, or the surprising appeal of Flippo’s vocals, or the strength of the Tao Te Ching itself, Tao Tunes has definitely left its mark on my sensibilities. And a few of its earworms, against all odds, have burrowed deep into my right brain."

FLIPPOMUSIC Taps A PoolL Of Cultures To Achieve Its Exotic Sound by Howard Reich – Chicago Tribune

Of all the Chicago jazz ensembles searching for new sounds, one of the more alluring has to be Flippomusic, the rare band of musical adventurers who prefer to seduce the ear rather than accost it.

That leader Dave Flippo and his colleagues do so by combining elements of jazz with Middle Eastern melody, makes the venture all the more intriguing.

Flippo, who played the "Wednesday-night "world music" at the Jazz bulls, on North Lincoln Park West, obviously is not the first jazz improviser to find source material and inspiration in music of far-off cultures. That technique dates as far back as Jelly Roll Morton, who brought elements of "Spanish tinge" (his own term for Latin elements) into his own early jazz.

Almost a century later, Flippo's way of blending two seemingly disparate musical idioms proves as fresh and contemporary as it is provocative, thanks to the sophistication of his compositions and the virtuosity of his players.

Certainly any jazz musicians who build a set on pieces titles "Zimbabalupi," Antelopin'" and "Arabopic" are up to something unusual. The exotic scales, oddly undulating textures and strangely complex chords that define all of these works also distinguish Flippo's idiom from almost anything else around.

So, too does some of the band's instrumentation, with Flippo playing keyboards, melodica and what he calls a "three-octave thumb piano."

As for the band's repertoire, its' consistently interesting. In "Arabopic," for instance, Flippo and friends apply the energy of classic be-bop to non-Western scales and modes. On "Camel Trot," Dan Hesler's insinuating phrases on soprano saxophone are backed by lush harmonizations and colors. With Steve Hashimoto playing ingratiating lines on electric bass and Heath Chappell and Aras Biskis layering intricate cross rhythms on percussion, bandleader Flippo has put together an ensemble well worth nurturing.

Paying Homage to the Ancient Words of Tao Te Ching – The Herald Scotland

(Tao Tunes) - The Herald Scotland - Dec 15, 2011 - Rob Adams
"But as one of the most intriguing releases to appear this year, it's (Tao Tunes) also a gift to the wider world. Sure, Tao Tunes can be dark and serious in places but it's also playful, joyous and musically enjoyable, and with the original text's sometimes fortuitous rhyming structure, at times it's simply downright good fun.

GANESH "GATHERS THE ENERGIES" by Luca Corte Rappis – All About Jazz Italia

Ganesh, the most recent work of Dave Flippo, gives us a taste of the Orient through the eyes of a Westerner, uniting the cultures with his own unique philosophy.

Born at the intersecting point of many cultures, the resulting jazz language has discovered how to gather the energies and exalt the qualities of each culture's music, succeeding where others have often failed. Flippo, a native of Chicago, chooses this city as a point of departure for a voyage in time and space, moving from the sounds of ancient instruments like the tabla to modern electronic instruments (and objects such as a giant steel garbage can). The music passes through the Indian atmosphere of Cool Ali, Battle of Shiva and Ganesh and Ganesh to the Greek Syrtotic, the Indonesian Shadow Dances and the swinging Sweet Imp. (The Battle of Shiva and Ganesh is a work that could be considered an opera in itself, taking the listener from the birth, development and termination of the conflict--the spectator is presented with a music so profound and vibrant that it seems to materialize in front of the listener's eyes.)

Flippo, a person who seems to deeply appreciate Indian music and culture, is joined on his voyage with musical companions Dan Hesler (sax and flute), Donn DeSanto (bass), Heath Chappell (percussion) and Aris Biskis (percussion). The CD alternates conversant ensemble pieces with a number of solo piano pieces (four Preludes and Shadow Dances), which are more like solitary meditations--true internal journeys. The musicians are capable of keeping the listeners together-- hand in hand, side by side--with their energetic and diverse rhythms. A sound is born, rich in shade and color, which is, at once, steeped in a study of the past while striving to understand the present and imagine the future.

Flippo, in this work, seems almost to wants to demonstrate that music can be used as a means to reunite the many worlds one has explored throughout one's life, which lie scattered in the many corners of the mind.

Three and a half stars (out of five)

GANESH "GATHERS THE ENERGIES" by Luca Corte Rappis – All About Jazz Italia

Ganesh, the most recent work of Dave Flippo, gives us a taste of the Orient through the eyes of a Westerner, uniting the cultures with his own unique philosophy.

Born at the intersecting point of many cultures, the resulting jazz language has discovered how to gather the energies and exalt the qualities of each culture's music, succeeding where others have often failed. Flippo, a native of Chicago, chooses this city as a point of departure for a voyage in time and space, moving from the sounds of ancient instruments like the tabla to modern electronic instruments (and objects such as a giant steel garbage can). The music passes through the Indian atmosphere of Cool Ali, Battle of Shiva and Ganesh and Ganesh to the Greek Syrtotic, the Indonesian Shadow Dances and the swinging Sweet Imp. (The Battle of Shiva and Ganesh is a work that could be considered an opera in itself, taking the listener from the birth, development and termination of the conflict--the spectator is presented with a music so profound and vibrant that it seems to materialize in front of the listener's eyes.)

Flippo, a person who seems to deeply appreciate Indian music and culture, is joined on his voyage with musical companions Dan Hesler (sax and flute), Donn DeSanto (bass), Heath Chappell (percussion) and Aris Biskis (percussion). The CD alternates conversant ensemble pieces with a number of solo piano pieces (four Preludes and Shadow Dances), which are more like solitary meditations--true internal journeys. The musicians are capable of keeping the listeners together-- hand in hand, side by side--with their energetic and diverse rhythms. A sound is born, rich in shade and color, which is, at once, steeped in a study of the past while striving to understand the present and imagine the future.

Flippo, in this work, seems almost to wants to demonstrate that music can be used as a means to reunite the many worlds one has explored throughout one's life, which lie scattered in the many corners of the mind.

Three and a half stars (out of five)

ON THE FUSION SIDE: FLIPPOMUSIC GLOBALJAZZ by Alex Henderson – CD Review Magazine

Chicago pianist/keyboardist David Flippo is hardly the first to combine jazz and world music, but his group Flippomusic Globaljazz is unorthodox in that it actually specializes in fusing jazz (both mainstream and avant-garde) with Middle Eastern, Asian, African, and Latin sounds. The resulting album is as unpredic- table as it is enriching.

SHORT TAKES by John Barrett – Jazz USA

The world-traveler finds value - and wonder - in everything he sees. With a degree in ethnomusicology, Dave Flippo has influences everywhere: 'Seventies fusion, European prog-rock, Twentieth Century art music - and blended with the rhythms of India. Dan Hesler's sax rips the air on "Ganesh", a tart soprano sounding worried. Flippo makes some elephant roars, then chimes on a fender Rhodes; the result is earthy, with a spirit of adventure. When Hesler returns, on tenor, he gets to screaming, and the drums answer in kind. "Camel Trot" is a heady blend, with Hesler's soprano (tart like an oboe), an insistent dumbek tapping along, and the breezy gust of a synthesizer. "American Crawl" could be smooth-jazz, with Flippo's soft synth and Hesler blowing cool. But it runs deeper than that: Donn DeSanto's bass is blistering, and the log drum is a nice touch. "Cool Ali" is a better version of the "Camel" mood, with stronger bass and Tranelike wails from Dan. Lyon Leifer's bansuri wafts through "The Battle of Shiva and Ganesh", a raga of metallic scrapes and Flippo's sitar-like keys. (We also hear lasers and cannon fire - the battle's in full fury.) Hesler's suave flute glides through "Sweet Imp", and his tenor buzzes on the great "The Jig's Up". And I didn't think they had Latin jazz in Ireland!
The remaining tracks are piano solos, which show Flippo's skill and his romanticism. Four "Preludes" are calm, with a hint of Scriabin; the best is "Dream Dance", which reminds me of falling snow. "Shadow Dances" is an echo piece: Dave plays a note, and its memory remains as he plays the next one. Cascading runs are followed by beautiful silence - this is definitely a favorite. "Syrtotic" is a warm dance, turning ever faster; the chords hint "Night in Tunisia" without ever quoting it. We have just experienced three continents, six countries, and many pleasures. Ganesh, by the way, is the god of luck. May you be fortunate enough to find this album.

FLIPPOMUSIC'S GANESH-by Dennis Sieja – Jazz Institute of Chicago

From the opening burst of explosive sound of its title track, Ganesh is as startlingly brash and original as its cover art suggests. Its musical boundaries span the globe with the sounds and styles and rhythmic influences, reaching from Africa to Arabia, to Ireland and India, and back here to the Chicago jazz scene. Although musician/composer David Flippo, the musical guru of Flippomusic, is based in Skokie and has been teaching and performing in the Chicago area for a number of years, his training in music history, ethnomusicology and Indian musical theory and practice (including a doctorate from the University of Michigan) has led his considerable composing, arranging and keyboard skills down a decidedly global path.

Although Flippomusic's sound defies easy categorization, it frequently calls to mind the musical landscapes of Weather Report. But whereas that band fused elements of world music into a more homogeneous blend, Flippo seems to zero in on diverse styles and disciplines, and then turn them into something uniquely his own.
Flippomusic, as a performing group, is diverse as well, including Lithuanian precussionist Aris Biskis, who plays the "stack-o-cymbals and beads," Heath Chappell, also on percussion, Dan Hesler, saxophone and flute, and Donn DeSanto on electric and acoustic bass. And for on this CD, these regular members are joined by tabla player Yatindra Viad on two tracks, and Julliard-trained flutist, Lyon Leifer, who plays "bansuri," an Eastern Indian bamboo flute on the tune "Battle of Shiva and Ganesh." As a member of the St. Louis Symphony, Leifer received a Fulbright government grant which led him to New Dehli, and then to Bombay, and an opportunity for study with the renowned Indian bansuri player and craftsman Devendra Murdeshwar.

But, all diversity aside, this CD is a joy to listen to from beginning to end. The title track, "Ganesh," is based on an Indian raga and employs a fascinating melodic line that seems to turn on itself, shifting its rhythmic accents in mirror-like fashion, featuring fine solos from Dave and saxophonist Dan Hesler. Then, from the land of incense and elephants, Flippo takes us deep into the arid regions of the Mideast with "Camel Trot," incorporating non-traditional counterpoint and harmony with traditional Arabic scales. "Cool Ali," sounds a bit like Weather Report with Hesler's tenor sax cushioned in cool keyboard textures. Every tune is a stand-out and, as we, the listeners, journey through these tracks, the superb contributions of DeSanto, Chappell and Biskis become more evident, sweeping us up and away with seamless crescendos—taking us to dizzying heights and down again.

Dispersed among the arranged ensemble tracks, produced by Flippo, Hesler and DeSanto, are several more recent solo piano performances, produced by Flippo and Bradley Parker-Sparrow. The inclusion of these more meditative interludes, all compositions by Flippo, add yet another intriguing dimension to this richly satisfying program.—Dennis Sieja

REVIEW: WHEN THE HEART IS STRONG... – JazzReview.com

Chicago pianist, composer, and arranger Dave Flippo’s debut album, When the Heart is Strong, the Voice Rings True is a collection of eight standards and six originals that documents Flippo’s piano playing and unique vocal style.

The voice begins to ring with “Bye Bye Blackbird.” Flippo’s tenor vocal style is light and pleasant in telling the story of the Blackbird, while being well supported underneath by bassist, Donn De Santo. Flippo’s swinging soloing style keeps the melody close to heart through out the journey of harmonic and motivic exploration.

"The Face of Love,” is the first Flippo original heard on the project. The bossa-nova feel is enhanced with the addition of Leo Murphy on drums and percussion and Dan Hester on flute. The lyrical story line is that of eternal love and the emotions it brings.

"Kuzushi,’ that’s a Japanese word that means that you are off balance,” are the opening lines sung by Flippo, which is followed a playful bluesy melody doubled by the piano. As with all Flippo’s originals, the music is clear with strong melodies coupled with interesting story lines. Flippo takes a couple choruses of vocal soloing, scatting for sure, with some playful use of Japanese syllabic sounds

"Spiderman” contains very nice solos by both Hester (tenor sax) and De Santo (bass). The arrangement is an enjoyable take on a familiar superhero theme song. The song is a fun and unexpected closer to When the Heart is Strong, the Voice Rings True.

The collection of tunes are primarily presented as a duet with Flippo singing, with the exception of “The Face of Love,” “Bossa De Santo,” and “Spiderman,” which are augmented with guest artist. The CD flow is enjoyable and explores many varied emotions and styles to keep the listeners interest.

This is a pleasing premier CD for Da Duo Di Flippo De Santo, a Chicago-based duo, which continues to build upon the tradition of the jazz standards of old.

Tracks: Bye, Bye Blackbird, Ballad of the Sad Young Men, The Face I love, The Face of Love, Prelude to a Dream, The Jets Song, Autumn Rambler, Kuzushi, Bossa De Santo, People I'll Never Know, Here, There and Everywhere, Twilight Thoughts, A Night in Tunisia, Blame it on My Youth, Spiderman Theme

CRITIC'S CHOICE: FLIPPOMUSIC by Ted Shen – Chicago Reader

David Flippo--whose ethno-jazz quintet, Flippomusic, is included in this week's Chicago Symphony Orchestra's "East Meets West" festival--is a prime example of a fusion artist for the 90s. Classically trained (he got a doctorate in composition from the University of Michigan), the former keyboard child prodigy switched to jazz in the mid-80s but hasn't abandoned his roots. Indeed his love of jazz, combined with an intense curiosity about music from other cultures, only heightens his willingness to experiment and mix diverse elements. The result, as can be heard on Flippomusic's latest CD, Tendrils of Light, is an idiosyncratic eclecticism that's true to the spirit of the tribal music it celebrates, be it Javanese, Indian, or Brazilian. At this concert the band--whose members are Flippo, Steve Hashimoto (bass), Heath Chappell and Aras Biskis (percussion), and John Boes (wind)--will perform cuts that illustrate how Eastern rhythms and instrumental sounds can be placed into jazz and new-music contexts. Also included is "Shadow Dances," a percussive tribute to Javanese puppet theater and its raucous gamelan accompaniment. The concert is preceded by Flippo's lecture on the influence of world music on jazz since the 60s. Wednesday, 5:30 PM, Newberry Library, 60 W. Walton; 943-9090. Next Friday, February 9, 8 PM, Borders Books & Music, 830 N. Michigan; 573-0564. TED SHEN

GANESH-CD review by Lee Prosser – Jazz Review.Com

GANESH is one of the most interesting contemporary jazz/world music CDs I have heard in recent years, each song a reflection of intricate and unusual jazz motifs that are original as well as entertaining. I have always been fascinated by and hold a respect for the Hindu religion simply because it has a honest voice and has had to overcome a lot of prejudice in the past 100 years.
Those who know Hindu mythology are aware of the importance of the god known as Ganesh. Ganesh is there to help one overcome personal burdens, act as the remover of obstacles, share wisdom and to guide one on her or his spiritual journey, among other attributes. Odd as it may seem, I was recently give a twelve pound hand-carved Ganesh bookend carved out of stone, given to hold up my corner of six jazz reference books and a dictionary! A wonderful gift with a remarkable carved face of an elephant. It sits quietly on my computer table holding up the dictionary. Strange, wonderful things do come about one's way at times!
This collection contains 14 remarkable jazz works, starting with "Ganesh" (Malconce raag)," and including such eclectic sounds as found in the songs "Battle of Shiva and Ganesh" (Gujri Todi raag), "Shadow Dances," "Sweet Imp," "Syrtotic," "The Jig's Up," "Prelude: Prayer," "Gyromaniations." The listening audience will find each song as different as night is from day.
I found the performances flawless, perfectly matched to the jazz material at hand, and whether a solo or group performance, excellent. GANESH is something that will capture the listening audience's attention completely with its world music flavor and contemporary jazz combination.
Many images float through these songs, and the listening audience will discover unique images in each of these songs. "American Crawl," "Camel Trot," and "Cool Ali" are other fine songs that bear close attention.
For some very intricate piano work, take a few listens to the sounds on "Shadow Dances." Each musician is toprate in GANESH. David Flippo is excellent as a pianist, creating and sharing his unique musical ideas with the audience in a flawless, straight-ahead fashion.
A change of pace, refreshing, combining and reinventing, lively, gentle, classical forms, challenging and exotic, GANESH is an interesting brew, a special cup of tea that the jazz listening audience will embrace for its concepts, images, and ability to share feelings of sound with each listener. This collection will come across as personal, close, intimate, and sensitive to each listener, as if created for that listener alone to partake of! To be able to share successfully jazz visions with the audience is what GANESH is all about. Perfect. --LeeProser

FLIPPOMUSIC GLOBALJAZZ - "TENDRILS OF LIGHT" – Chicago Tribune

One of the most unusual and appealing bands to spring up in Chicago of late, Flippomusic Globaljazz speaks a language of its own making-and a beguiling language it is. Part Arabic melody, part Asian harmony, part American bop (and so on), the band creates a sound, a texture and a brand of improvisation as exotic as it is original.
Listen to the sinuous flute lines on "Buddha's Siesta," the unusual rhythmic ideas on "Antelopin' " and the lush textures on the title track, and you'll hear a music at once complex and transparent, sophisticated and accessible. Further, the way this band utterly transforms such jazz standards as "Do Nothin' 'Til You Hear From Me" and "Well You Needn't" defies expectations.

It's a terrific recording, but here's hoping it marks only the beginning for keyboardist and composer David Flippo's ensemble. Joined by electric bassist Steve Hashimoto, reed player Dan Hesler, percussionist Aras Biskis and various guests (including percussionists Hamid Drake and Michael Zerang), Flippo has created a band with ample promise.

CRITICS CHOICE - FLIPPOMUSIC GLOBALJAZZ by Neil Tesser – Chicago Reader

Once you know the name of this quintet' leader--Dave Flippo, playing piano and synths--the rest of its odd designation falls into place. Of course at this point the whole idea of "world music" carries little novelty, either as a self-contained genre or as the most widespread new influence on every idiom from classical to rock; the phrase itself attained buzzword status back in the 80s. Most groups concerned with world-beat rhythms tend to attach themselves to a single culture -- Brazilian, say, or West African or Middle Eastern -- or to blend aspects of them all into a purportedly "universal" melange. But Flippo has done neither; instead his repertoire includes separate tunes that specifically explore Arabic, African, Latin American and Indian music. The trick is to avoid cliche among all this eclecticism, and Flippo does this to an acceptable extent. His compositions have enough bite to elevate them from mere vehicles, and his group really seem to inhabit their dizzying musical travelogue; they play each piece from the inside out rather than merely imposiing the appropriate rhythms when called for. For that you can place no little credit with Hamid Drake, the master percussionist whose expertise with rhythms from around the globe has attained locally legendary stature. Globaljazz performs Friday as part of this weekend's University of Chicago Jazz Festival, headlined by Malachi Thompson's sextet (Friday) and the New Horizons Ensemble (Saturday). Friday, 8 PM, Ida Noyes Hall, University of Chicago, 1212 E. 59th; 702-7300. Thursday, 8 PM, Southport Records Jazz Fest, Bop Shop, 1807 W. Division; 235-3232.

NEW AND OVERLOOKED - by Geary Kaczorowski – Schwann Spectrum

On Flippomusic Globaljazz's Tendrils of Light (Southport SSD-002), David Flippo & Co. bring world music influences to bear on what is essentially jazz. Nothing new, right? What gives this recording so much more is the band's élan and their sharp musical chops. At times they offer very traditional jazz, but then go off to explore the world with such instruments as a grand piano, the Arabic dumbek, and the Indian tabla. Toss in some Latin percussion, and it becomes a potpourri of styles that keeps you guessing

SPHERES by Josef Woodard – Jazz Times Magazine

Strait out of Chicago by way of various global byways, the octet known as Flippomusic Globaljazz makes a point of surfing between jazz and world music strains of the Latin, African, Asian, Middle Eastern and other types.

Along the way, the consensus attitude shifts from whimsy to contemplation! Their album Tendrils of Light (Southport) is nothing if not polydirectional. Leader-keyboardist David Flippo's material keeps you guessing: the album opens with the Caribbean-meets-Far-Eastern "Zimbabalupi" and closed with the twilight ballad "Dreams Reborn." The group's version of "Do Nothing 'Till You Hear From Me" is liberally undercoated with dark reharmonizations and a slinking rhythm, while "Well You Needn't" assumes a slow and rubbery reggae posture. Sometimes the going gets diffuse, but the heart is in the right place.

Skokie musician bringing jazz to Tommy Nevin's – Pioneer Press - Chicago Tribune

Contemporary jazz is coming to Tommy Nevin's Pub in Evanston thanks to Skokie resident Dave Flippo. He will be bringing his quartet, Jazz From Planet Flippo, to the popular restaurant and performance venue twice a month starting Jan. 22.Audiences will hear original pieces by pianist and composer Flippo as well as his arrangement of tunes by such artists as David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Stevie Wonder and The Beatles. These artists are featured on the group's most recent album, "Life on Mars."
In addition, Jazz From Planet Flippo members will play more modern tunes by such artists as Amy Winehouse and Jason Mraz. "But they're jazz versions of them," Flippo said. "And I'm writing some originals that are exploring new directions. I'm trying to get things that are more cosmic and spiritual, and then some things that are more fun."
Flippo has been playing jazz since he was about 14 years old. "I was classically trained and I did a doctorate in music composition and theory but I always played jazz on the side," he said. "Miles Davis was the main guy that I really liked. At first it sounded like noise to me and then I started appreciating it."
Flippo has led a jazz ensemble since 1992. "I mainly put it together to play my music, because I'm a composer, but we've gotten into some other projects lately," Flippo said. Saxophone player Dan Hesler has been with Flippo from the beginning. His quartet also includes drummer Heath Chappell and Donn De Santo on acoustic and electric bass.
Jazz from Planet Flippo has performed at numerous jazz festivals, including Taste of Chicago, South Shore Jazzfest, Around the Coyote Art Festival and Navy Pier World Jazz Festival. They have also performed at many clubs, including Pete Miller's, Beat Kitchen and Hot House, and frequently perform at colleges and libraries. Special public performances have included Jazzin' at the Shedd, After Hours at the Field Museum, Brookfield Zoo Summer Concert Series and Chicago Cultural Center Concert Series.
Flippo said that what makes his ensemble unique is the diverse influences of his original music. "I'm into world music, I'm into Indian and African, I'm into historical classic music like Bach and Beethoven and Renaissance, and I'm into jazz," he said. The most recent of his group's five albums, "Life on Mars," reflects some of those influences. "I arranged a bunch of rock classics and pop classics from the '60s and '70s," he explained.
Flippo, who earned a bachelor of arts from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, a Master of Musical Arts in music composition from the Eastman School of Music and a Doctorate of Musical Arts in music composition from the University of Michigan, has been teaching in this area since 1987. He currently teaches music, jazz and classical piano at Triton College and the College of Lake County, as well as giving private lessons.
Flippo is looking forward to bringing his group to Tommy Nevin's for several reasons. "I have a lot of students in this area," he noted, adding, "Evanston's a cool town. It's a nice club and it has a nice room to play in." More at www.flippomusic.com .
Myrna Petlicki / Pioneer Press
Jazz from Planet Flippo When: 3-6 p.m. Jan. 22, Feb. 12 and Feb. 26
Where: Tommy Nevin's, 1450 Sherman Ave., Evanston NO COVER - ALL AGES

Quartet Brings Interplanetary Jazz to Nevin’s Pub – Daily Northwestern

Dave Flippo is from his own planet. But, he counters, so is everybody else.
“That’s the weird thing about human existence. Every person walking around, they’re the center of their universe,” Flippo said. “When I write my music, I’m not writing it for other people; I’m writing it for myself and expressing my own world.”
Flippo is a composer and musician whose quartet, “Jazz from Planet Flippo,” has started a series of performances at Tommy Nevin’s Pub in Evanston. They currently play twice a month at Nevin’s — their next show is Jan. 22 — and feature a variety of Flippo’s compositions, from world music-inspired pieces to “jazzified” covers of popular songs.
Though Flippo started off writing classical and contemporary concert music, he said he was drawn to the freedom and improvisation of jazz. After 11 years of pursuing higher education degrees and with a newly-earned doctorate under his belt, the Pittsburgh native decided to continue pursuing jazz music in Chicago.
His group, “Jazz from Planet Flippo,” started out around 25 years ago under the name “Flippomusic Globaljazz.” Since then they have recorded five albums and performed at various venues in the Chicago area, with Flippo composing, playing keys and sometimes adding vocals.
Donn DeSanto, the bassist for the group, called Flippo a “musical genius.” He said Flippo’s music has a unique and unconventional sound that is difficult to describe.
“He hears things in ways that no one else does,” DeSanto said.
Part of this distinctive style, Flippo said, comes from his extensive use of what he calls “dirty chords,” or dissonance. He likened his music to a Gauguin painting, with earthy tones that blend some darkness into the brighter colors.
When composing, Flippo said he likes to keep a specific idea or phrase in mind to guide the music. The group’s fourth album, “Tao Tunes,” was actually based on the “Tao Te Ching,” an ancient Chinese text.
“The words and the way the words flow make melodies come out of them,” Flippo said. “Speech has ups and downs, so for things with text that’s how I (compose).”
The group’s most recent album, “Life on Mars,” takes a different approach. It includes jazz arrangements of various rock songs, from the Beatles to David Bowie.
This concept was inspired when Flippo was playing in a Wilmette restaurant and the owner asked if he knew any Jimi Hendrix. Though Flippo said he is not naturally a “rocker,” after playing around with a few rock tunes, Flippo decided to turn these arrangements into a full album.
Flippo’s eclectic style has now found a home at Nevin’s. Though the pub started out featuring mostly Irish music, manager Brian Davenport said these days they are “open-minded” when it comes to musical acts.
“As long as they can get a few people in the door and create a good atmosphere, we book all kinds of shows,” Davenport said.
The performances are being marketed as an event for all ages, and Flippo said he hopes the arrangements of familiar tunes draw in a younger crowd. He added that musicians need to keep refreshing the genre to make sure it doesn’t die out, citing jazz legend Miles Davis’ adoption of hip hop styles.
DeSanto, however, said he is not worried about the future of jazz. Unlike rock, which he described as “like vanilla cake” that eventually becomes tiresome, he said he is confident that jazz will continue to evolve.
“Jazz is something that is timeless,” DeSanto said. “It’s not the flavor of the month.”
Email: madelineburakoff2020@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @madsburk