Amazon.com Widgets

NOJO with Sam Rivers: City of Neighbourhoods (2005)

By Published: | 4,772 views
NOJO with Sam Rivers: City of Neighbourhoods How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Led by pianist-tubaist Paul Neufeld and guitarist-conductor Michael Occhipinti, the Toronto-based Neufeld/Occhipinti Jazz Orchestra (NOJO) has been wowing audiences up North for a decade now, but has received scant attention here in the States. City of Neighbourhoods , the group's fourth recording and its first to get an American release, ought to change that. The ensemble, which has expanded as large as sixteen pieces, is down to a tight nonet this time around, but it's called in a ringer guest soloist from our side of the border: octogenarian jazz legend Sam Rivers, who brings his soprano and tenor saxophones and flute along for the ride.

The album is all Occhipinti and Neufeld originals (three by the former, four by the latter; they compose independently) and the music is wide-ranging, to say the least: African and Cuban rhythms share space with contemporary classical, country, funk and gospel influences; there's honky tonk and jump blues, echoes of Mingus and Ellington, Eastern scales, American grooves, driving horns and fuzz-tone guitar riffs. Obviously, this is a group with a sense of humor, but make no mistake—these are players with serious chops, as the mere presence of Rivers announces.

At 81, the maverick Rivers—who, along with the vocalist Sheila Jordan, is probably the most ridiculously underappreciated jazz genius alive—is still performing at the top of his game, and his uncompromising commitment to the music lifts this record into the stratosphere. "The Glassblower," the penultimate cut, was written by Neufeld as a tribute to Rivers; and during the course of its eleven-and-a half minutes, the great man moves seamlessly between flute, soprano and tenor sax, giving what amounts to a jaw-dropping master class on all three axes in the process. It's the standout performance on a standout record.

Visit NOJO on the web for upcoming tour dates and more.


Track Listing: 1. City Of Neighbourhoods 2. The Human Blockhead 3. Spend Every Dime 4. Duke A Go Go 5. Neurotheologians 6. The Glassblower 7. The Year In Review

Personnel: Sam Rivers, Dan Bone, Sean O'Connor, Jason Logue, Kevin Turcotte, Scott Suttie, Roberto Occhipinti, Barry Romberg, Michael Occhipinti, Paul Neufeld.

Record Label: True North Records

Style: Big Band


comments powered by Disqus
Support All About Jazz Through Amazon

Weekly Giveaways

Michael Carvin

Michael Carvin

About | Enter

Steve Wilson/Lewis Nash

Steve Wilson/Lewis Nash

About | Enter

Tom Chang

Tom Chang

About | Enter

Cedar Walton

Cedar Walton

About | Enter

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW