Chicago Reader Critic's Choice: Flippomusic


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by Ted Shen

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 90's. Classically trained (he got a doctorate in composition from the University of Michigan), the former keyboard child prodigy switched to jazz in the mid-80's, bust 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 experience and mix diverse elements. The result, as can be heard on Flippomusic'c 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 theatre and its raucous gamelan accompaniment. The concert is preceded by Flippo's lecture on the influence of world music on jazz since the 60's.

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