About Dave Grippo Funk Band
The Grippo Funk Band has its roots in Burlington, Vermont’s perennial favorite band Pure Pressure, formed 25 years ago by alto saxophonist Dave Grippo and keyboardist Bruce Sklar. Grippo and Sklar are also busy educators; Grippo as Director of Jazz Studies and Jazz Band for both South Burlington High School and Frederick H. Tuttle Middle School and Sklar as director of Jazz and Music Technologies at Harwood Union High School, a Grammy Signature School. They can also be heard with The Grippo/Sklar Quintet, conceived as an outlet to perform their original jazz compositions. (The Grippo/Sklar Quintet CD, Passing Through, is available at regional music stores or or by contacting Bruce at firstname.lastname@example.org.) Mr. Grippo also serves as section leader for former Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio when any of Trey’s many projects call for a horn section.
Aaron Hersey, also a Pure Pressure member, was part of The GFB’s very first Monday night performances at Burlington’s Red Square in the mid-90’s and continues in his dual role of lead singer and bassplayer today. Hersey, a graduate of The University of Maine’s Jazz Performance program, has been active in a number of musical projects through the years, most notably as a member of Pork Tornado which released its debut CD on Rykodisc. Three of Aaron’s compositions can be heard on this CD. (www.porktornado.com) The members of The GFB consider their drummer, Kenny Gulfield, to be the most important element of their sound. Originally from Cambridge, Massachusetts, Kenny moved to Vermont in the early 70’s to play music with his father, journeyman drummer Davey C. Because his father’s band didn’t need another drummer, it was during this period that Kenny learned to play the bass guitar, and also earned the nickname Kenny C, as Davey C’s son. Kenny can still be seen as a bassplayer with The Phil Abair Band with whom he has played (when not employed as a drummer) for over 20 years. Kenny now lives in St. Albans, VT with his wife Kelly and their three sons.
Guitarist Dave Diamond rounds out The GFB’s rhythm section. Diamond, a 2000 graduate of UVM, has been with the group since 1999. Originally from New York City, Diamond was active with UVM’s jazz orchestra and myriad small combos for all four years as an undergraduate. He has also been a part of such well-regarded local bands as Voice, Opius, and The Turkey Boullion Mafia.
Other local talents such as trombonist Andy Moroz, trumpeter and vocalist Jennifer Hartswick, tenor saxophonist and arranger Brian McCarthy, MC/rappers Manus and Fattie B, and DJ’s A-Dog and ZJ (Zach Johnson) join these core GFB members frequently in area nightclubs. Employing four- and 5- piece horn sections and drawing on hip-hop elements have been a key to keeping The GFB’s sound fresh and engaging for lucky audiences as well as musically challenging and fulfilling for all musicians involved.