Twenty Years of Exploration Leads Flippomusic to “Tao Tunes”


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Composer, pianist Dave Flippo created his modern jazz ensemble 20 years ago after 11 years of university study. As pianist and principal composer for his eclectic ensemble, Flippo's background includes a Doctorate and Masters degree in composition from the University of Michigan and Eastman School of Music with additional studies in ethnic music and jazz. The compositions he originally created were a synthesis of these elements, which he called “globaljazz"- a blend of jazz with ethnic music from cultures as diverse as Indonesia, Africa, Pakistan, the Middle East, India, Romania and Japan. The band released two CD's on Southport Records: Tendrils of Light and Ganesh.

In 2001, Flippo moved in a new direction when he incorporated his vocals on his third CD, When the Heart is Strong. A few years later, Flippo began composing another set of vocal pieces that incorporated his “globaljazz" idea in a new way. Since discovering the “Tao Te Ching" in college, Flippo had always been drawn to the ancient Chinese text. He created adapted English lyrics for these texts and set them in a modern mainstream jazz style. As always, he continued to create music that pushed the boundaries of jazz. Even though texts are contemplative observations on the ways of both nature and man, Flippo wanted the music to reflect the wide range of characters and moods in the text—dark and light, calm and frenetic, peaceful and agitated.

The result is Tao Tunes (on Oppilf Records), a set of 18 compositions that offer a wide variety of styles: swing, beguine, funk, tango, rock, samba, Latin-rock, ballad, bossa nova and ambient. The recording is built around the principal members of FLIPPOMUSIC: Dan Hesler on saxophones and flute; Donn De Santo on bass; Heath Chappell on drums; and Dave Flippo on piano and vocals. The recording also features numerous guest artists including Larry Gray on cello, Neal Alger on guitar, Hamid Drake on percussion, Michael Levin on clarinet and flute and Katherine Hughes on violin.

The band celebrates Tao Tunes with a CD Release Party at Jerry's Sandwiches in Wicker Park, 1938 W. Division, Chicago on Tuesday, December 6th from 8:00 to 10:15 pm. FLIPPOMUSIC will perform a mix of both “globaljazz" and “Tao Tunes" originals. There is a suggested donation of $5.00.

The event is sponsored by Chicago's top jazz radio station WDCB 90.9 FM. For more information visit flippomusic.com.

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