Neufeld-Occhipinti Jazz Orchestra

City of Neighbourhoods

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If proof were ever needed that avant-garde jazz can be fun, witty, and colorful, one listen to "The Human Blockhead" from this CD would be perfect evidence. Nojo, a superb nonet organized by guitarist Michael Occhipinti and keyboardist Paul Neufeld (the band's two arranger-composers), is versatile enough to play modern mainstream jazz as well as freer explorations. On City of Neighbourhoods, they welcome the great saxophonist Sam Rivers, who has an opportunity to solo on every selection alongside the members of Nojo. Rivers is in typically brilliant form, the arrangements are episodic and consistently adventurous, and one never knows what is coming up next. A complete play-by-play of this music would be both unnecessary and tedious, unlike the performances. Suffice it to say, City of Neighbourhoods is an exciting and diverse set of modern jazz, avant-garde but never esoteric.

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