(Oppilf Records 1002) Chicago, IL
TAO TUNES - Long Clips in CD Order (mp3s)

Dave Flippo's newest compositional project "Tao Tunes" sets eighteen chapters of the ancient and powerful Tao Te Ching to music.
Recorded by FLIPPOMUSIC, Flippo shapes the English translations of eighteen chapters into lyrics and renders and arranges them in a multitude of diverse musical styles, including samba, swing, funk ballad, beguine, contrapuntal drone, 6/4 tango, abstract free form, jazz ballad, bossa nova, rock and jazz waltz.
Dave Flippo - Piano/vocals, Dan Hesler - Sax/flute,
Donn De Santo - Bass, Heath Chappel - Drums.

Larry Gray - Cello, Neal Alger - Guitar, Hamid Drake - Percussion,
Mike Levin - Clarinets/flute, Katherine Hughes - Violin.
01 TAO- (Chapter # 1)- Trio plus Dan Hesler - Saxophones and flute - Arranged jazz ballad
02 FEARLESS- (Chapter # 50) Trio plus Larry Gary - Cello - Arranged bossa nova for sax trio and cello
03 WATER- (Chapter # 8) Trio plus Dan Hesler - Saxophone, Mike Levin - Bass and Bb Clarinets - Medium swing
04 USEFUL - (Chapter # 11) Trio plus Dan Hesler - Saxophone, Hamid Drake - Bongos and shaker - Beguine
05 DISTRACTIONS- (Chapter # 24) Trio plus Dan Hesler Soprano 'saxophone and flute. Hamid Drake - Congas - Upbeat 6/8/ Latin
06 WORTHY- (Chapter # 43) Trio plus Dan Hesler - Tenor saxophone - Jazz ballad
07 STOP!- (Chapter # 9) Trio plus Dan Hesler saxophone, Donn De Santo - Vocals - Medium swing
08 WITHIN- (Chapter # 47) Trio plus Dan Hesler - Tenor Saxophone - Jazz funk ballad
09 PARADOX- (Chapter #36) Trio plus Dan Hesler - Tenor Saxophone - up swing
10 FEELING- (Chapter #12) Trio plus Neal Alger - Guitar, Hamid Drake - Djembe - Up mixed meter samba
11 SPIRIT- (Chapter #6) Trio plus Dan Hesler - Tenor saxophone and flute, Larry Gray - Cello
Impressionist mountainscape over "magical drone"
12 SICK- (Chapter # 71) Trio plus Dan Hesler - Saxophone, Neal Alger - Guitar, Mike Levin - Bass and Bb - Clarinet and flute, Hamid Drake - Dumbek and gong - Latin rock contrapuntal/drone
13 HOPELESS - (Chapter # 75) Trio plus Neal Alger - guitar - Hard rock ballad
14 RETURNING - (Chapter # 40) Trio plus Dan Hesler - Tenor Saxophone - Jazz ballad
15 TROUBLE - (Chapter # 63) Trio plus Dan Hesler - Tenor Saxophone - Medium swing
16 QUESTIONS - (Chapter # 10) Trio plus Dan Hesler - Flute, Katherine Hughes - Violin, Hamid Drake - Bongos
Arranged 6/4 tango
17 TRUTH - (Chapter # 81) Trio plus Larry Gray - cello. Cazendas by Larry Gray - Jazz ballad
18 VIRTUE -(Chapter #54) Trio only. Medium swing. (Didn't fit on the CD)
18. VIRTUE (Chapter 54)

What is firmly set cannot be pulled out of the ground.
What is firmly grasped cannot be freed.
What is taught with deeds will surely leave a deep impression...
To be honored by the daughter... honored by the son...

Develop virtue in yourself... and virtue will be real.
Foster virtue in the home... it will abound.
Nurture virtue in the town... and and virtue will expand.
Nourish virtue in the country... the effect will be profound.

Establish virtue on the planet...
Engender virtue in the heavens...
Encourage virtue through the heavens...
And soon you'll sense it all a-round...

So see the body as the body...
The fam'ly as the fam'ly...
The nation as the nation...
The cosmos as the cosmos...

How do I know this is the truth?
Am I sure this is the truth?
How will you know this is the truth?...
By looking!
17. TRUTH - (Chapter 81)
Truthful words have no beauty.
And words of beauty have no truth.
Men of honor do not argue with their neighbors
And those who argue have no honor.

The few who know are not learned.
And learned men, they do not know.
And so the sage does not accumulate possessions,
So then he knows that he's not owned by what he owns.

The more he does, the more he gives,
The more he gives, the more he gains,
The more the gains, the more he lives,
The more he lives, the more he knows.

The Tao of heaven has a point but does no harm.
The Tao of ages produces work without effort.
16. QUESTIONS - (Chapter 10)
Though distractions are many,
Can you hold to the one,
And thus avoid separation?
Sensing all that is present,
Being supple and mild,
Can you perceive as a baby?
Building and cleansing
The primal vision,
Can you be without blame?
Honoring all men as you
Rule the kingdom,
Can you be without guile?

Though heaven may give,
And heaven may take,
Can you live your life content?
And though you may fathom
The way of all things,
Can you part with your opinions?
Bring forth life and nourish it?
Bearing, yet not imprisoning?
Giving, without exacting?
Doing, without expecting?

This is the highest virtue.
15. TROUBLE - (Chapter 63)
Act without acting,
Do without doing.
Taste the simple,
Find greatness in the small.
Multiply the few,
Respond to bitterness with care.
Solve problems when they're small.

The sage tackles trouble when a problem first appears,
Builds his greatest deeds upon the insignificant.
He never will endeavor to do more than he can do,
So there's nothing left undone.
A promise made lightly
Is not to be trusted.
When things come too easy,
Look for trouble up ahead.
The sage sees trouble waiting,
And so he adds it to his plans.
He expects the unexpected,
So expect the unexpected ? everyday.
13. HOPELESS - (Chapter 75)
The people are so hungry,
Why do the people starve?
The ruler tolls and taxes without mercy.
The people's lives are joyless.
Why are they not content?
The ruler makes each day a tribulation.

The people take their death far too lightly.
They seem to think so little of death.
The ruler takes their lives with little reason,
Drains the life from their souls.
And without hope, the hopeless seek the ruler.
They strike the king, who fills their days with strife.
Though countless die, the people seize the ruler,
And with one motion, end the tyrant's life.
12 SICK - (Chapter 71)
To see your ignorance is wisdom.
To think you know it all is sick.
So then if one is sick of sickness,
Then one's no longer sick.
The sage is sick of sickness.
He acts to fix his sickness.
And when he's licked his sickness,
The sage is no longer sick.
11. SPIRIT- (Chapter 6)
The spirit of the valley can never die.
It is the source, the primal mother.
And from it flows the forms
Of heaven and earth
Like a vapor, barely seen,
Trust it, it will never fail.

10. FEELING - (Chapter 12)
The five colors cloud the eyes.
The five notes deafen the ear.
The five flavors mask the taste.
Too much exertion maddens the mind.
Treasures and trinkets lead one astray.

And so the sage is not guided
By what she sees,
But what she feels.
Releasing that and choosing this.
9. PARADOX - (Chapter 36)
That which shrinks must be full.
That which fails must first be sturdy.
That which falls must first be raised.
Before one gets, there must be giving.
The soft will melt the very hard.
The weak will win against the tyrant.
A fish should stay in waters deep.
A mighty state should hide it's weapons.

This is how the world behaves,
The simple truth of how it goes,
Two opposites create a whole,
And everywhere a paradox.

There is no hot without the cool.
Without the white there is no blackness.
One who wins should offer praise.
If there's no pain, you'll not know pleasure.

This is how the world behaves,
The simple truth of how it goes,
Two opposites create a whole,
And everywhere a paradox.

Up, down; black, white;
Torment, pleasure.
Labor, leisure; living, dying?
8. WITHIN - (Chapter 47)
I met a man who rarely ventured out,
And through the window,
He would scarcely glance.
Yet wondrous were the works he made,
And perfect were the words he spoke.

He seldom journeyed out into the world.
Yet know so well
Just how the world behaved.
And thought I rarely saw him
Open up his eyes,
He read the secrets in my heart.

It seemed that he did nothing.
Yet his creations sat
In splendor all about him.
They seemed to have a power,
Much like the vital flame that burned Within his eyes.
7. STOP - (Chapter 9)
You better stop
Before you fill it to the top.
Sharpen it twice,
You'll find your knife won't slice.
Too many riches,
And all the crooks develop itches.
If your ego gets too big,
You could lose your gig.

So retire when the work is through.
One exhalation relieves frustration.
And do only what you need to do.
This is the road to heaven.
6. WORTHY - (Chapter 43)
A gentle rain dissolves the mountain tall.
A melody may enter where there's no room to stand.
A teacher teaches lessons, and yet no words can be discerned.
A worker works his deeds, yet never moves.

A single word can still the braggart's roar.
A feeling that is shapeless seems almost tangible.
A leader leads her people, and yet she wanders far behind.
A man may find his wealth by simply giving.

And so I know, within my mind (heart),
How worthy is the way of being nothing.
And all these things that ring so true,
Are understood by but a few.

5. DISTRACTIONS - (Chapter 24)
He who stands on tiptoe is not sturdy.
She who hurries can't keep up the pace.
He who seeks the spotlight dims his brilliance.
And she who is self-righteous wins disgrace.

Nothing is achieved by endless boasting.
Endurance is not gained by one who's vain.
Self importance brings about disaster.
And grabbing lots of cash can get you slain.

According to the travelers on the pathway of the heart,
Pursuing these distractions yields no good.
For none of these ambitions can true happiness impart,
So avoiding them unceasingly is undeniably understood.
4. USEFUL - (Chapter 11)
There's thirty spokes on the hub of a wheel,
But it's the hole in the middle that is useful.
A lump of clay can be shaped into a bowl,
But it's the space deep inside that is useful.
So useful.
Cut two windows or more, then add a door,
It's the holes in the walls that are useful.
They're very useful.
It's a loose rule.
They're useful.
A block of stone can be carved into a pipe,
But it's the hole running through it that is useful.
Some planks of wood can be formed into a boat,
But it's the space up on top that is useful.
So useful.
Take a bamboo shoot and make a flute,
It's the holes up and down that are useful.
They're very useful.
It's a loose rule.
They're useful.

So profit comes from what is there,
And usefulness from what is not.
3. WATER - (Chapter 8)
The greatest good is like the water.
Water gives life to the millions of things.
It flows in places left discarded,
And so is like the Tao.

In living, be close to the land.
In dreaming, go deep in the heart.
In dealing with others be tender and kind.
In speech, be straight.
In ruling, be sure to be just.
In business, be competent.
In action, watch the timing.

To all be true.
Relax, renew.
Let your needs be few,
And all will honor you.
2. FEARLESS - (Chapter 50)
From birth to death:
Some will seek the light,
Some will crave the dark,
Some will wander aimlessly in ignorance.

He who learns how to live,
Can walk where he chooses without fear
Of rhino or tiger.
He who learns how to live,
Will not be injured in battle
By bandit or soldier.
For the rhino finds no place to thrust its horn,
And the tiger, no place to swipe its claws,
And the soldier, no place to pierce the skin.
How is this so?
Because he has no space for death to enter.
1. TAO - (Chapter 1)
The Tao that one describes is not the eternal Tao.
The name that one may name is not the eternal name.
The nameless is the creator of heaven and earth.
The named is the mother of the million things.
Freed from desire, one can see the mysteries.
Filled with desire, one sees only an image.
Yet both flow from the same source,
And so are as one.
Emerging from the darkness,
Darkness born of darkness,
The source of all mystery.
14. RETURNING - (Chapter 40)
Returning to the center
Is the motion of the spirit.
As is the way of yielding
To a force unseen.
And all the tens of thousand things
That flow into existence,
First move within that shrouded void Where Nothing's king.
photos-Antonio Houston
photos: Tanya Tucka
Bio for Tao Tunes
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low res
Liner Notes for Tao Tunes
All tracks include the trio of Dave Flippo - Vocals/keys,
Donn De Santo - Bass and Heath Chappell - Drums set.
... the music itself reflects the texts beauty and wisdom, even without recitation ... Tao Tunes will satisfy those who like a philosophical bent to their jazz." Chicago Jazz Mazazine - Nov/Dec 2011 - Hrayer Attarian

"And now, in the category of "Bet you didn't see that one coming," I give you the new album by Chicago pianist,composer and vocalist Dave Flippo." "..an absolutely unexpected, and unexpectedly successful setting of 17 lessons from the Tao Te Ching. But whether it's the craftsmanship of the writing, or the surprising appeal of Flippo's vocals, or the strength of the Tao Te Ching itself, Tao Tunes has definitely left its mark on my sensibilities. And a few of its earworms, against all odds, have burrowed deep into my right brain." - Chicago Jazz Examiner - Dec. 2011 - Neil Tesser