If the struggles of earth seem to be too much, maybe it’s time to take a jaunt to the wild, eclectic side of the musical universe experience Jazz from Planet Flippo – the cleverly titled latest incarnation of pianist Dr. Dave Flippo’s longtime Chicago based ensemble so identifiable with its leader its moniker is suggestive of a subgenre unto itself: Flippomusic.
The high spirited, wild melodies, muscular grooves and dynamic improvisations-for- everyone vibe of their latest album Dedications is the direct result of Flippo’s asking his bandmates – Donn De Santo (acoustic & fretless bass), Dan Hesler (saxophones, flute), Heath Chappell (drums) and Aras Biskis (percussion) – the elements they wanted to include.
Though pop/rock fans will surely gravitate first to the peppy, bustling romp through Stevie Wonder’s “Too High” (featuring dazzling solos by Flippo and De Santo), the sassy, saxy funk-swing energy of Amy Winehouse’s irrepressible “Rehab” and a warm, retro-flavored Rhodes centered whirl through Radiohead’s “Karma Police,” the track that, both in title and frolicsome vibe, truly captures the aesthetic of the jam here is “Freewheelin’.”
On some of the other original tracks, like the boisterously percussive “Giraffe Trek” and lyrical, breezily meditative “Third Eye Open,” the whimsical titles are dead giveaways as to what we can expect when we attune our ears and transcend to the surface of the dynamic Planet Flippo. All of those are splendid fun, but perhaps the trippiest and most exotic track – and the one that will make you feel you’re in some crazy orbit – is the explosively hypnotic “Syrtotic,” which was Flippo’s response to Aras Biskis’ request that Flippo pen a Greek jig with an intricate pattern written in 14. Other tunes written in more conventional time signatures like the soulful, mid-tempo “Four Four Waltz,” are no less delightful.