Grippo Funk Band

Grippo Funk BandThe Grippo Funk Band got its start at Burlington VT’s Red Square in 1999 when alto saxophonist Dave Grippo gathered some of his favorite musicians together to jam on Monday nights. This humble beginning led to an unbroken string of Mondays at the Square that lasted nearly seven years. These legendary gigs served as a funk-style bootcamp where the GFB explored the deep cuts of James Brown, Maceo Parker, Sly Stone, and countless other R&B legends. Musicians touring with Dr. John, Soulive, Maceo, Beyonce Knowles, The Neville Brothers, and saxophonist Chris Potter would often make it a point to stop by and jam when in town on a Monday night. The GFB took it in, mixed it up, stirred the pot, and as months turned to years they developed their own ensemble sound and “heartbeat in unison” deadly locked-down grooves. The GFB has also been exceptionally fortunate to benefit from the contributions of many outstanding performers through the years such as drummer Kenny “Sweet Sugar” Gulfield; MC’s Fatty B (of Belizbeha), Reko The Mighty Konflik, and Manus; singer/songwriter/trumpeter Jennifer Hartswick (of Trey Anastasio’s band and solo artist); trombonists James Harvey, Ben Smeltzer, and Andy Moroz (also from Trey’s band); guest guitarists Nick Cassarino and Benny “JFC that’s good chicken” Yurco (of Grace Potter and The Nocturnals); DJ’s A-Dog, Nastee, and Zach “ZJ” Johnson; and many more.
David Grippo
David Grippo has been playing and teaching alto saxophone in the greater Burlington VT area for over twenty five years. Originally from Long Island, he earned his teaching degree from UVM in 1993. He now serves as director of Jazz Studies for the South Burlington VT school district. Dave is also the leader of Phish’s Giant Country Horns and has performed on seven Phish CD’s as well as on four of Trey Anastasio’s solo CD’s.
Aaron Hersey
Aaron Hersey was part of the GFB’s first Monday night performances at Burlington VT’s Red Square and continues in his dual role of lead singer and bassplayer today. A 1989 graduate of the University Of Maine’s Jazz Performance program, Aaron has been active musically through the years, most notably as a member, along with Phish’s Jon Fishman, of Pork Tornado, which released its debut album on Rykodisk in 2002. Three of Aaron’s compositions can be heard on this CD.
Bruce Sklar
Bruce Sklar, keyboardist, has been playing with Dave Grippo since the early days of Burlington VT’s perennial fave Pure Pressure. A busy educator, Bruce is the Director of Jazz and Music Technology at Harwood Union High School in Moretown, VT. Dave and Bruce can also be heard in the Sklar/Grippo Quintet, conceived as an oulet for them to perform Bruce’s original jazz compositions and which features the area’s preeminent jazz players. The Sklar/Grippo Quintet’s CD, Passing Through, is available at the local music stores. The Bruce Sklar Trio’s latest CD, “Three Days In August”, featuring Bruce, bassist John Rivers and drummer Gabriel Jarrett, is available here.
Brian McCarthy
Brian McCarthy, GFB tenor saxophonist/arranger and Conn-Selmer Artist, is a product of the Vermont Music Education system and spent six years at the world renowned Jazz Studies program at William Paterson University in New Jersey earning a B.M. in Jazz Performance and a M.M. in Jazz Composition/Arranging. While there, Brian sudied wih jazz legends like baritone saxophonist Garry Smuylan, pianist Mulgrew Miller, trumpeter Clark Terry, and arranger/composer/performers Rich DeRosa (arranger for Wynton Marsalis) and Jim McNeely. The Brian McCarthy Quartet’s latest CD is available here.
Talent Mag AdRuss Lawton
Russ Lawton began his professional career while growing up in the Boston area. In addition to the GFB, Russ currently tours with bands including Strangefolk and Phish’s Trey Anastasio. It was during his Trey collaboration that Russ earned songwriting credits on Phish’s “Farmhouse” CD (featuring the Grammy-nominated song “First Tube”), Trey’s first solo CD, the live “Plasma” CD and the “Live At The Warfield Theatre” DVD with Trey and Carlos Santana. In between gigs, Russ keeps busy with his drum students and on various studio dates.
David Diamond
David Diamond, guitarist, joined the Grippo Funk Band during his senior year at UVM. Upon graduation in 2000, David continued to perform with the GFB as well as embarking on several national tours with The Jennifer Hartswick Band. His playing can be heard on various artists’ recordings, including Voice’s “Prime” and Jennifer Hartswick’s “Fuse.” In addition to performing with the GFB, David is a busy guitar teacher and music producer.

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