Chicago pianist, composer, and arranger Dave Flippo’s debut album, When the Heart is Strong, the Voice Rings True
is a collection of eight standards and six originals that documents Flippo’s piano playing and unique vocal style.
The voice begins to ring with "Bye Bye Blackbird." Flippo’s tenor vocal style is light and pleasant in telling the story of the Blackbird, while being well supported underneath by bassist, Donn De Santo. Flippo’s swinging soloing style keeps the melody close to heart through out the journey of harmonic and motivic exploration.
"The Face of Love," is the first Flippo original heard on the project. The bossa-nova feel is enhanced with the addition of Leo Murphy on drums and percussion and Dan Hester on flute. The lyrical story line is that of eternal love and the emotions it brings.
"Kuzushi,’ that’s a Japanese word that means that you are off balance," are the opening lines sung by Flippo, which is followed a playful bluesy melody doubled by the piano. As with all Flippo’s originals, the music is clear with strong melodies coupled with interesting story lines. Flippo takes a couple choruses of vocal soloing, scatting for sure, with some playful use of Japanese syllabic sounds
"Spiderman" contains very nice solos by both Hester (tenor sax) and De Santo (bass). The arrangement is an enjoyable take on a familiar superhero theme song. The song is a fun and unexpected closer to When the Heart is Strong, the Voice Rings True
The collection of tunes are primarily presented as a duet with Flippo singing, with the exception of "The Face of Love," "Bossa De Santo," and "Spiderman," which are augmented with guest artist. The CD flow is enjoyable and explores many varied emotions and styles to keep the listeners interest.
This is a pleasing premier CD for Da Duo Di Flippo De Santo, a Chicago-based duo, which continues to build upon the tradition of the jazz standards of old.