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Ganesh: Flippomusic

Since the days of John Coltrane’s scales and Yusef Lateef’s double reeds, improvisers have found plenty of fertile ground at the intersection of Indian/Middle Eastern music and jazz. With Flippomusic, keyboardist Dave Flippo’s Chicago-based ensemble makes its pilgrimage-with not especially memorable results. Ganesh’s particular flippoformula trades substance for exotic atmosphere and big fusion theatricality, which dooms this venture from the outset. The corny elephant roars and rinky-dink synthesizer chords announce as much at the start of the first tune. Flat solos and hand drumming awkwardly layered over preprogrammed percussion only reinforces early conclusions.

The group is probably better suited to mainstream jazz, which shows when the group jettisons their faux-sitars and the Middle Eastern scales, as on the funky and decidedly Western “American Crawl.” Flippo himself, parted from his bank of synthesizers and unbridled pretensions, isn’t a bad pianist either-as his comping on “Cool Ali” suggests. This observation doesn’t apply to his overly precious, nonsequitur solo vignettes strewn throughout the recording. A bit of judicious editing and some artistic direction would have helped quite a bit.

Originally Published