(Life on Mars) - Chicago Jazz Magazine - Chicago, IL - November, 2016
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
(Life on Mars) WDCB RADIO - Chicago, IL
Dave Flippo has a rather unique new disc out called Life On Mars. It’s a CD of pop tunes from the post-Tin Pan Alley era, and there are some gems here. Joni Mitchell’s "Chelsea Morning" is given a gorgeous treatment, and David Bowie’s "Life On Mars" is fantastic as well. A few standards round out the program, including a really nice version of "It Might As Well Be Spring." Bassist Don De Santo and drummer Heath Chappell do a great job playing alongside Flippo. Life on Mars is a nicely grooving disc that I think you’re going to like a lot. - Paul Abella
Article: 1-19-2017- Pioneer Press- Skokie Musician Bringing Jazz to Tommy Nevin's (pdf)
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." -read more.
Article: 1-19-2017- Daily Northwestern. Quartet Brings Interplanetary Jazz to Nevins Pub (pdf)
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.”
(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."
(Tao Tunes) - Chicago Music Examiner - Dec 6, 2011 - 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."
(Tao Tunes) - Chicago Jazz Mazazine - Nov/Dec 2011 - 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."
(Tao Tunes) - Musicsprings Blog- Oct 2011 - Richard Mitnick
" This project, Tao Tunes is Flippo's journey to his own spiritual core - the Tao - and the joy and reverence with which he approaches these texts is apparent in the craft and personal attention found in each musical setting. I listened and I listened, over and again. I loved what I heard. This is a great album."
(Tao Tunes) - Pioneer Press-Skokie - Nov 2011 - J.T. Morand
"The ancient Chinese philosophical text, Tao Te Ching, is a tricky maneuver to translate... Flippomusic, led by jazz pianist and singer Dave Flippo of Skokie, is the right band to set the text to music since Flippo himself is hard to define."
"Flippo's love of jazz, combined with an intense curiosity of 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 music it celebrates, be it Javanese, Indian or Brazilian."
(FLIPPOMUSIC) - Chicago Tribune - 1995- Howard Reich
"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."
(Ganesh) - All About Jazz Italia - 2002 - Luca Corte Rappis
"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. 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."
(Tendrils of Light) - Chicago Tribune 1994 - Howard Reich
" ...the band creates a texture as exotic as it is original... a music at once complex and transparant, sophisticated and accessible."
(Tendrils of Light) - CD Review Magazine - 1994 - Alex Henderson
"As unpredictable as it is enriching ...
Three and a half stars (out of five)
Translation for Corte Rappis review from
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 discoved 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)