Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Jazz from Planet Flippo - Dedications (2021 Oppilf Records)


When DR. DAVE FLIPPO told his bandmates that he wanted to write music for each of them for his new album, he asked what elements they wanted him to include. He found their answers surprising and challenging -- like writing a waltz in four or a song about a giraffe. But Flippo, a Chicago-based jazz pianist, composer, vocalist, bandleader, and educator, was certainly up for the challenge. On DEDICATIONS – JAZZ FROM PLANET FLIPPO, he includes eight original tunes and three by well-known pop artists re-imagined in the jazz idiom. Each tune is dedicated to a member of the band and to friends, family, and other artists whom he admires.

DEDICATIONS is Flippo’s sixth CD as a leader. It follows Life on Mars (2016), Tao Tunes (2011), When the Heart is Strong, the Voice Rings True (2004), Ganesh (2001) and Tendrils of Light (1994). Each of his recordings reflects Flippo’s interest in continually widening his musical palette by incorporating different styles of music and music from other cultures. The Chicago Tribune says, "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." “If Six Were Nine,” a track from Life on Mars, was chosen by the 2016 Jazz Connects Jukebox Jury Award as part of the Jazz Connects Conference sponsored by JazzTimes Magazine.

Flippo is a native of Pittsburgh, PA. He began playing piano by ear at the age of four and learned to read music before he could read words. Unlike most other kids, he grew up more interested in jazz and classical music than in rock ‘n’ roll. He pursued his interest in music by earning a Doctorate in Music Composition/Piano at the University of Michigan and a master’s degree at the Eastman School of Music. After completing his doctorate, he was living in Ann Arbor and contemplating what his next move should be. Flippo says, “After I got my doctorate, I wanted to challenge myself. Ann Arbor was a nice town, but it’s small without many opportunities for me to seriously apply my education. My choices were to go to either New York, Los Angeles, or Chicago. Coming from Pittsburgh, I was already a mid-Westerner, and I thought I’d be more at home in Chicago. It wound up working great for me, and I’ve been there ever since.”

When Flippo got to Chicago, he began working odd jobs to support himself while building a performing and teaching career. He also became a serious student of jazz and began studying jazz theory and piano with Chicago jazz teacher Alan Swain.

Between 1988-1990, Flippo began performing and composing for the Ethos Chamber Orchestra, which specialized in "third stream" compositions that combine classical music and jazz. In 1992, he put together his first jazz band, Flippomusic. Flippo’s original compositions on their first two recordings, Tendrils of Light and Ganesh, fused World music grooves with jazz.

Although there were some personnel changes in the ensemble over the years, the one thing that has remained consistent is Flippo’s wide ranging musical interests. He began singing on When the Heart is Strong, a duo album with bass player DONN DE SANTO. He also sang on a truly unique album, Tao Tunes, which comprises all original tunes in a variety of styles which sets eighteen chapters of the ancient Chinese text, the Tao Te Ching.
Flippo now calls his ensemble Jazz From Planet Flippo. It is made up of some of the top Chicago-based jazz musicians who have now been with Flippo for 10-15 years. The band includes bass player DONN DE SANTO, saxophonist and flutist DAN HESLER, drummer HEATH CHAPPELL. Percussionist ARAS BISKIS, who performed with the group when it was a quintet, appears as guest performer on two tracks.

The wide range of styles on DEDICATIONS displays Flippo’s prowess as a composer and arranger. He opens the album with Stevie Wonder’s “Too High” from his album 1973 recording Innervisions. Flippo gives the tune a twist by extending the song’s famous opening lick by stretching out the rhythm and reharmonizing the song with jazz chords and adding a chromatic bass line.

He also tackles Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab” by combining a New Orleans groove with a swinging bridge. “Karma Police” is a song by the group Radiohead. A student of Flippo’s had asked him to write an arrangement for him. Flippo likes the song’s quirky chords and rearranged it for this recording.

Flippo’s original compositions include “Finch House,” which was inspired by the songs of the finches who come to feed at the several bird feeders in his yard. The song is in 7/8 time with a mellow feel. “Giraffe Track,” about a giraffe loping across the savanna, is dedicated to Dan Hesler. Flippo wrote “Third Eye Open” with a development section, which is often used in classical music. Dedicated to Donn De Santo, it is a long form that utilizes a three-chord progression that strives to form a full harmonic circle. Flippo dedicates “Freewheelin’” to his son Gabriel. It comprises a cycle of minor 7 chords in a circle of fourths.

Aras Biskis asked Flippo to write a Greek jig for him, two styles that no one has ever combined. The result is “Syrtotic,” written in 14 with a complicated 1-2, 1-2, 1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2, 1-2 rhythm. Flippo dedicates “Four-Four Waltz” to his jazz mentor Alan Swain. “Spring Joy” is a happy tune with a springtime feeling that Flippo dedicates to his wife, Melissa. Drummer Heath Chappell requested a song in which he could explore different meters that could be out of time with the rest of the band. The result is “Methamorphosis.”

With its eclectic styles, odd meters, and accessible melodies, DEDICATIONS JAZZ FROM PLANET FLIPPO is a showcase for Flippo’s broad interests, erudition and inventiveness. It is an eminently fun album that features a tightly knit, top notch band all in tune with Flippo’s expansive imagination.

1. TOO HIGH 5:17
5. REHAB 6:01
7. SYRTOTIC 5:25
10. SPRING JOY 4:30

DAVE FLIPPO piano, keyboard, melodica
DONN DE SANTO acoustic & fretless bass
DAN HESLER saxophones, flute
ARAS BISKIS percussion (3, 7)

Arranged & Produced by Dave Flippo

Dan Cavalca - Lights of Red Island (June 15th, 2021)

The new album "Lights of Red Island" is dedicated to the collaboration with the Claudio Scolari Project in which the artist takes part in 2010: the new album is in fact a rearrangement of "Colors of Red Island", one of the most important records of the Scolari Project, acclaimed by the jazz critic around the globe. 

In "Lights of Red Island", the artist maintains some of the rhythmic/melodic parts of the old album, adapting them, reshaping them and wrapping them with a new sound.

Dal 15 giugno - Swing Breath di Andrea Sicurella (Dodicilune / Ird)


Aria che diventa musica, musica che diventa swing sulle tracce gitane di Django Reinhardt (1910 -1953), il primo musicista europeo che accolse e trasformò il jazz americano: “Swing Breath” è il nuovo progetto discografico del chitarrista, clarinettista e saxofonista torinese Andrea Sicurella, prodotto da Dodicilune nella collana editoriale Wysiwyg e distribuito dal 15 giugno in Italia e all’estero da Ird e nei migliori store on line da Believe.

Accompagnato dal trombettista Eugenio Pane, dal chitarrista Federico Fiore e da Ivan Appino e Jino Touche, che si alternano al contrabbasso, Sicurella propone nove brani. Otto sono composizioni del repertorio di Django Reinhardt: cinque scritte direttamente dal musicista francese (“Swing guitars”, “Django’s dream”, “Dinette”, “Anouman” e “Minor swing”, composta con Stéphane Grappelli) e tre opera di Josef Myrow (“Blue drag”), Isham Jones (“I’ll see you in my dreams”), Paul Durand (“Seul ce soir”) ma proposte nella lettura reinhardtiana. Il disco si conclude con il celebre tema “Swing valse” di Gus Viseur e Pierre Ferret.

“Swing Breath” sarà presentato ufficialmente giovedì 17 giugno (ore 21:15 - ingresso libero  info e prenotazioni 3271126230) con un concerto al Lambìc di Torino (Via Tommaso Agudio).
«Da qualche anno suono il clarinetto con diversi gruppi che propongono la musica di Django Reinhardt, un musicista straordinario di cui ho approfondito la conoscenza anche grazie ad un festival dedicato al jazz manouche organizzato anni fa a Torino, che ha permesso a molti appassionati musicisti e non, di incontrarsi», sottolinea Sicurella. «Con questo lavoro ho semplicemente provato a dare un’altra voce alla sua musica reinterpretando con il clarinetto alcune sue celebri improvvisazioni e quelle dei musicisti (Stéphane Grappelli al violino; Hubert Rostaing, Gérard Lévêque e Maurice Meuniere al clarinetto) con cui ha collaborato nel Quintette du Hot Club de France. Un modo diverso per sentire la musicalità e l’originalità di questo grande musicista, considerando anche l’ambiente musicale che lo circondava, curiosando e divagando oltre le corde e il virtuosismo chitarristico».

Chitarrista, clarinettista e saxofonista torinese, Andrea Sicurella dal 1995 suona il sax in gruppi jazz e folk. Nel 2001 si diploma in chitarra e si esibisce in concerti di musica classica e sudamericana. Dal 2007 fa parte di Banda Elastica Pellizza (canzone d’autore, pop-folk, Targa Tenco - Siae2008) con cui incide tre Ep e partecipa a dirette radiofoniche e concerti in teatri, club e festival di tutta Italia. Dal 2015 collabora come clarinettista con diverse formazioni swing e jazz manouche.

Chitarrista torinese residente a Barcellona, Federico Fiore studia chitarra con il maestro Maurizio Colonna. Viaggiando rimane affascinato dal  flamenco e dal jazz gitano, che da allora abbraccia definitivamente. Dal 2014 fa parte dei Domino Swing e alterna la sua attività di musicista e insegnante tra Barcellona e Torino.
Liutaio di professione e contrabbassista jazz autodidatta, Ivan Appino da anni litiga con il suo contrabbasso. Voce e chitarra del gruppo “Faber per sempre” (omaggio a Fabrizio De André) e “Band’Abord”(omaggio a Georges Brassens).

Contrabbassista mauriziano da anni residente a Torino, Jino Touche ha collaborato con molti artisti del panorama musicale nazionale (Gianmaria Testa, Mina, Jannacci, solo per fare qualche nome). Dal 1994 fa parte dell’orchestra di Paolo Conte e dal 2000 suona con i Manomanouche, pionieristico gruppo di musica swing manouche italiano. Nel 2008 fonda i Baton Magik, progetto di musiche originali mauriziane.

Eugenio Pane ha studiato tromba con Gilberto Martini e suona con diverse big band/marching band del Canavese. Dal 2019 gestisce “La Stanzetta” il suo studio di produzione e registrazione di Caluso, in provincia di Torino.

1 - Blue drag  (1935*)
2 - Swing guitars (1947*)
3 - I’ll see you in my dreams (1939*)
4 - Seul ce soir (1942*)
5 - Minor swing (1937*)
6 - Django’s dream (1947*)
7 - Dinette (1947*) 
8 - Anouman (1953*)
9 - Swing valse

* Django’s version

Compositions by Josef Myrow (1), Django Reinhardt (2, 6, 7, 8), Isham Jones (3), Paul Durand (4), Reinhardt-Grappelli (5), Ferret-Viseur (9)

Andrea Sicurella - clarinet, saxophones (1, 4, 6), guitar (1, 6, 7, 8), arrangements 
Eugenio Pane - trumpet (1, 4, 6, 8)
Federico Fiore - guitar (2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 9) 
Ivan Appino - double bass (2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 9)
Jino Touche - double bass (1, 6, 8)


Ilugdin Trio - My Story (2021 Jazzist)

The trio of jazz pianist Dmitry Ilugdin is releasing its third studio album, "My Story". Starting May 27th the album will be available on streaming platforms. It is the first release of Jazzist—a new record label based in Moscow, Russia.

All the music on "My Story" was entirely written by the Trio's founder, composer and pianist Dmitry Ilugdin. The Trio (other members include Viktor Shestak on double bass and Petr Ivshin on drums and percussion) has been working together for more than six years. Ilugdin's original material was carefully tailored during live performances, coming to fruition for studio recording. The sound was engineered by Andrey Levin, chief specialist of the Mosfilm studios and one of the Jazzist co-founders. The album's artwork was created by the world renowned designer Victor Melamed. Araik Hakobyan, art director of the Kozlov Jazz Club (another co-founder of Jazzist), became the executive producer.

"My Story" has a very personal touch to it. Every composition on the album is based on life experiences, human emotions and existential matters. Dmitry Ilugdin came up with an idea to supplement the tracks with short descriptions in order to add more accuracy, so to speak, when it came to conveying the mood of each piece. For example, "Case" is about unexpected situations that make you feel uptight and uneasy at first but, as time passes, you grow to have fond memories about them and you feel thankful for the experiences and new skills that came with them. "All these are true stories that actually happened to me," says Dmitry Ilugdin. "Although the album is called "My Story", I'm sure that many people have found themselves in similar situations. And since these stories are familiar not only to the listeners but to the members of the Trio, each of us managed to fill the initial musical idea with personal experience. I can say that our stories are intertwined."

Stylistically, Ilugdin's music absorbs the traditions of "cool" European jazz, follows the principles of sound integrity and clarity laid down by ECM, and reinterprets Russian classical music. The musicians combine understanding of the context and brilliant command of the instruments with the ability to be themselves and stick to their own style. For Ilugdin Trio, the lyrical and powerful "My Story" is yet another step forward.

"Reflection", their previous album, was released in Russia in 2017, and was reissued in 2019 by Losen Records (Norway). In 2018, Ilugdin Trio participated in a large-scale celebration of the International Jazz Day under the auspices of UNESCO and represented Russia at the jazzahead! exhibition in Bremen. During these years the Trio performed at various venues, including Russian and international jazz festivals (Usadba Jazz, Amersfoort Jazz Festival, Belgrade Jazz Festival and others).
1. Case
This piece came to be quite swiftly, like an unexpected life situation which you are uptight about
at first but later remember with gratitude for the experience and a new skill.

2. Home
We all have a place to return to when things are difficult. It may be in the distant past, in the
future (as a dream), or very close by, but this is where we always feel at home.

3. What For?
How many more answers come when you ask the right question! Sometimes all it takes is to
replace “Why?” with “What for?”

4. Tamed Loneliness
On maturity and the endless striving for it.

5. Prelude No. 5
This piece is our small dialogue, a conversation on the lives of three friends.

6. P.S.
A small afterword. A sentiment.

Dmitry Ilugdin: piano
Petr Ivshin: drums
Victor Shestak: bass

Music by Dmitry Ilugdin
Recorded and mixed by Andrey Levin at Mosfilm Music Studios
Mastered by Anatoly Ryassov
Design by Victor Melamed
Executive producer: Araik Hakobyan


DogOn - Floater (2021 Double Moon Records)

The best way to get moving is to have several variants. Sometimes boarding, then letting loose again, sometimes floating and walking alternately, sometimes driving or optionally crawling, sometimes motorized in a car, but you can also resort to the good old bike again. As different as all these variants may be, you can somehow get moving with everyone and ultimately reach your destination. In this respect, DogOn, the power trio of the bustling Zurich guitarist Eric Hunziker, can certainly be understood as a collection of modes and possibilities of movement. Or better: a vehicle to realize the diverse musical fantasies of the band line-up.

Hunziker, bassist Thomas Tavano and Tobias Hunziker on drums like it to be hearty and hefty. Sometimes it thunders rocking (boarding), sometimes it sounds jazzy (let loose), then there are filigree improvisations (walking) and mysterious sound collages (floating), eventually to return to funky grooves (car, preferably fast!) or even a pinch of dubbing (muscle power; or transferred to the musical life: unplugged). Without any inhibitions, filled with joy of playing, DogOn stakes its territory without stylistic blinders and puristic ulterior motives. Because Switzerland, or perhaps even Earth, has long become too small for this, they search for remote galaxies and planets, as the guitar-playing astronaut expresses on the cover of their second CD “Floater”.

The trio, which comes from the environment of the Lucerne Music Academy, navigates its spaceship confidently through stylistic spheres, steers it confidently through delicate meteorite showers and mysterious sound fog. The emerging sound might remind connoisseurs of Tribal Tech, Bunny Brunel or Wayne Krantz. But the guys don't really want to be perceived as a copy of famous role models in any phase, but have long since developed their own sound, with which they have been regarded as a hot secret tip since their debut album “Rotten Rainbow Rollercoaster”, especially in their Swiss homeland.

Of course, DogOn primarily lives from the distinctive guitar sound of its mastermind Eric Hunziker. As a composer, the string dervish is responsible for all ten tracks on “Floater”. In recent years, he has gained an impressive and prominent standing in renowned Swiss acts (Peter’s PlayStation, Lobith and Fearless Five) as a sideman, but also in his own projects (Neuromodulator and Swiss Indian Orchestra). His versatile, varied style has stood out again and again in this context. It proves to be an immense advantage that Hunziker not only masters “boarding” but also a number of other gaits in an almost dreamlike way. The founding of the adrenaline-rich combo stems from an encounter at the legendary Zurich Bazillus Club, where Eric Hunziker met Thomas Tavano and Tobias Hunziker in 2015. Since then, the band has completed a series of tours in Russia and Germany. It also had guest appearances at renowned festivals such as the Lithuanian “Mama Jazz”.

However, the actual quality of the grooving threesome lies in the fact that it is possible to get moving not just with the help of the energy of the guitar. DogOn does well to use the power of Tavano's driving six-string bass and the razor-sharp beat of drummer Tobias Hunziker for their trip through the infinite expanses of modern music. In this respect, the spaceship has a strong captain, but also a highly qualified and motivated crew. And it can be heard in every corner of the universe with guarantee.

1. Floater 04:58
2. Carbon Chauvinist 05:41
3. Hidden Room 06:01
4. Shutter Cutter 03:02
5. Priester 04:19
6. Pork Cheek 03:54
7. Devil’s Choice 04:32
8. Phone Breaker 04:49
9. Dashashwamedh Ghat 05:46
10. When We Feel 04:25

Eric Hunziker, Guitar
Thomas Tavano, Bass
Tobias Hunziker, Drums