So, when was the last time you tried to count a Greek and Irish jig in 14/8? Many years ago, the cognoscenti shared Joe Morello's giggle of relief when he and the rest of Dave Brubeck's quartet got through "Unsquare Dance." Dave Flippo, however, is light years beyond 7/4. But odd meter is really not the point. This is just music, and hugely enjoyable for all that. How could anyone, adventuresome or not, miss getting drawn into such a lively excursion? Yeah, it helps if you are paying attention and keeping score. Yeah, you pat feet at different tempos if you can. But if that is all you do, you miss the point.
Flippo's coy title allusion to Sun Ramaybeis not really necessary. He has an orthodox musical background but is gifted with an exceptional imagination. If you start with "Spring Joy," you may first be looking for Clifford Brown. But he is not there. The tune is just a good Latin samba, and at that level, why not just enjoy it? "Syrtotic," the 14/8 Irish jig, sounds like it swirls its way around an E diminished chord on soprano sax as it opens after a percussion and bass introduction. The effect is just hypnotic, as if you think you have just walked into a particularly good Middle Eastern restaurant that offers Guinness. Yeah, it is out there, but fun to listen to. If you study "Giraffe Trek," you may not get the full effect if you only listen to the notes. It helps to Google a giraffe race from the Dallas Zoo to realize that Flippo has, uncannily, really written program music for just such an occasion. Do not just trust a reviewer. Try it yourself. Of if you question whether a drummer can really play in one tempo while the band is in another, listen to "Metamorphosis," which Flippo describes as a "polyphonic jazz motet" with group improvisation. Is it fair to call Flippo the Anti-Brubeck? Or the Ur-Brubeck? Lest you think it is all unconventional, "Freewheelin" may remind you of an Andy LaVerne composition that Stan Getz performed in the late 1970s, "Pretty City."
These are excellent musicians who clearly enjoy what they are playing. And what they are playing is hard. For sure, it is not pour on the Martinis music. Perhaps better suited to magic mushrooms. De gustibus! Do not underestimate the music. The more you listen, the more you hear. You may come away both enlightened and entertained.
Third Eye Open;
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