Mimico Flip City
(Short Memory) by John Pietaro
Flip City is a trio comprised of saxophonist David Aaron, bassist Will McEvoy and drummer Dave Gould, each frequently heard on the NYC free jazz circuit in a variety of ensembles. On Mimico, their sophomore release, the band delves into thick tapestries of sound, which, more often than not, bring to mind a much larger ensemble.
Some of the works presented here have composed sections but the overall effect is one of a thoughtful, multi-part free improvisation, dramatic and compelling. Aaron's presence on both tenor and soprano is equally forceful, with long-held, arcing phrases commanding the atmosphere like a tugboat's call tearing through a thicket of fog. Just when you feel he will resolve some of his strained melismata, he doesn't. McEvoy offers strong statements as well, crafting lines of artful tone, intense counterpoint and carefully plotted supportive work. And Gould is a champion of the timpani mallet, rolling over (what seems to be) an extended kit including various metal and wooden surfaces, creating pulsing, at times burning patterns, which rarely move out of mezzoforte and really thrive at much softer levels. Flip City are master listeners, something not always engaged in by champions of the shock of the new.
The drama inherent in this slower, sometimes pensive brand of free music is further accentuated by the credits, which inform us that opener "Upfront Sometime" was inspired by works of Oscar Wilde. To a more contemporary point, "Your Response" is dedicated to Aimee Goodman, host of the celebrated left activist radio program Democracy Now!, its title based on Ms. Goodman's frequent retort to guests after she's hit them with tough commentary. And it all seems fitting as Flip City, if in a less direct manner, challenges listeners.