FLIPPOMUSIC is a contemporary jazz ensemble based in Chicago, Illinois which was formed in 1992 by composer and pianist Dave Flippo as a vehicle to perform his original compositions and arrangements. The current members include Dave Flippo (piano and vocals), Dan Hesler (saxophones and flute), Donn De Santo (bass), Heath Chappell (drums) and Aras Biskis (percussion). Its unique approach to jazz and sizable body of original contemporary jazz compositions gives it a unique place in the Chicago jazz scene.
FLIPPOMUSIC gave its first performance at At The Tracks in Chicago and continued performing at area clubs including the Bop Shop, Jazz Bulls, the Hothouse, Morseland, the Underground Wonderbar and the Heartland Cafe. The original members of the band included Dave Flippo (keyboards), Dan Hesler (saxophone), Steve Hashimoto (electric bass), Steve Strunk (drums) and John McLean (guitar).The instrumentation was reconfigured in 1993 and the guitar position was replaced by Hamid Drake on percussion with Aras Biskis taking over the drum chair. The band recorded its first CD, Tendril of Light, on the Southport label in 1994 and also won first place in “Winterbreak-Cruise to Chicago” contest, a City of Chicago-sponsored event which won them a booking at the Taste of Chicago in the same year. Guest artists on Tendrils of Light include Michael Zerang and Ken Gueno on percussion and Donn De Santo on bass.
The band added additional Flippo compositions as well as works by Steve Hashimoto, Dan Hesler and several modern jazz standards to their repertoire and began performing at area colleges, festivals and special events at area museums and art galleries. During the period the instrumentation crystallized into its present form - with Dave Flippo on keys, Dan Hesler on saxes and flute, Donn De Santo on bass, Heath Chappell on drums and Aras Biskis now on percussion. The ensemble released their second CD, Ganesh, in 2001, also on Southport Records. The ensemble tracks were recorded at Donn DeSanto’s “Bassplace Productions” studio while the solo piano preludes recorded at Sparrow Sound Design (Southport Records). Guest artists on the recording included Lyon Leifer on bansuri and Yatindra Vaid on tablas.
Shortly after the release of Ganesh, De Santo and Flippo formed a duo and began mixing in new vocal compositions and arrangements of Flippo with jazz standards. For a time it was called Da Duo De Flippo De Santo, but later was considered part of FLIPPOMUSIC. The larger quintet continued to perform during this period. The band’s third release came in 2005 with a primarily duo recording, When the Heart is Strong, the Voice Rings True. The duo was augmented on several tracks by Dan Hesler on saxophones, Leo Murphy on drums and Michael Levin on clarinet.
During the recording of When the Heart is Strong ..., Flippo completed the Writer’s Workshop Program at the Theatre Building Chicago where he composed two full length musicals and studied techniques for setting lyrics to music. Once he complete this course, he resurrected a project he has begun in 2004, the creation of a set of modern vocal jazz pieces that set various chapters of the Tao Te Ching – Tao Tunes. After first creating adapted lyrics from various English translations in the public domain, Flippo composed eighteen pieces and completed the set in 2009. Recording began in March 2010, Tao Tunes was completed in June, 2011 and released November 2011. Guest artists include Larry Gray (cello), Neal Alger (guitar), Hamid Drake (percussion), Mike Levin (Bb and bass clarinet and flute) and Katherine Hughes (violin).
After the recording of Tao Tunes, FLIPPOMUSIC expanded its typical program to include music from all four CD’s—the “globaljazz” compositions, the vocal duo pieces and the set of Tao Tunes. The band now offered programs which were purely “globaljazz” but also one which mixed the earlier material with the new vocal compositions.
1994 - Taste of Chicago
1994 - DePaul University Multicultural Festival
1994/1996 - Around The Coyote Art Festival
1994 - Chicago Cultural Center – live broadcast on WFMT
1995 - Independent Label Festival
1996 – Chicago Symphony Orchestra “East Meets West Festival”
1996 – Southport Jazz Festival (at the Bop Shop)
1994 - University of Chicago Jazz Festival
1997 – Oakbrook Summer Concert Series
1998, 2005 – Condordia College Artist Series
1998 – Navy Pier “World Jazz Festival”
1998 – “After Hours” at the Art Institute of Chicago
1999 – “Jazzin’ at the Shed” – Shed Aquarium
2000 – Southshore Jazz Festival
2003 – Skokie Festival of Cultures
2004 – Brookfield Zoo Concert Series
2004 – College of Lake County Artist Series
2004 - Northwestern University “Lunch on the Lake” Series
2009 – Evanston Ethnic Arts Festival
2010,2008, 2007, 2002, 2001, 2000 – Buffalo, Grove Summer Concert Series.
Summer Fests: Buffalo Grove “Concerts on the Rotary Green” (‘93, ‘94,) Libertyville “Out to Lunch” Series (1995), “Lunch by the Lake” – Northwestern University,
Tendrils of Light – FLIPPOMUSIC (Southport Records, Chicago, IL SSD 0024 ) 1994
Ganesh – FLIPPOMUSIC (Southport Records, Chicago, IL SSD 0088 ) 2001
When the Heart is Strong, the Voice Rings True – Da Duo Di Flippo De Santo (Oppilf Records, Chicago, IL 1001) 2004
Tao Tunes – FLIPPOMUSIC (Oppilf Records, Chicago, IL 1002) 2011
Mike Smith - guitar
Paul Mertens- saxophones and flute
John Boes- saxophones and flute
Cameron Pfiffner – saxophones
Jim Gailloreto - saxophones
Michael Levin- saxophones and flute
Winston Damen (Stone)-percussion
Steve Magnome- drums
Hamid Drake- percussion
Lewis Ewerling – drums and percussion
Mike Fiorino – bass
Chris Clementi - bass