The Winnipeg Free Press
Music - Reviews, Sunday, October 21, 2007, p. d9
Occhipinti quartet delivers

By Michael Wolch

Toronto guitarist David Occhipinti brought his band to town on Friday night as the opening performance in the Canadian Jazz Concerts Series. Playing to a small, but appreciative crowd, Occhipinti, along with Kevin Turcotte (trumpet), Andrew Downing (bass), and Terry Clarke (drums), worked their way through two sets of original compositions by Occhipinti.

Having been nominated for several Canadian jazz awards in the past, Occhipinti has built a reputation as a fine composer and innovative and unique guitarist, and the band had some fun with his music.

The show kicked off with a piece titled Manhattan from Occhipinti's 1999 recording Syzygy, which gave the band a chance to loosen up and warm up the crowd, before they launched into a five-song medley from his newest CD Forty Revolutions.

The marathon medley lasted right to the end of the first set (it ran for at least 40 minutes) and it ranged in tempo from aggressive grooves to meditative chamber music. The medley opened with Sophia, a song Occhipinti wrote for his two-year-old daughter, which began with a light folk theme, and slowly picked up energy as it moved through to the next piece, Mars.

Here, Downing and Clarke pushed the pace with some forceful bass-playing and drumming and the entire band kicked it up a notch with some superb solos by Occhipinti and Turcotte. The piece then broke apart and became a jagged, off-time tune with some great guitar effects. Occhipinti is not a flashy player, but he makes every note and chord count, and plays with a lot of colour.

Turcotte was outstanding in the next movement as he tore into a trumpet solo that was fresh and energetic, and he was given more opportunity to shine, when the band stopped playing and he performed a soft, tempered, passionate solo. The first set and the medley, ended with the song Peace March, which had Clarke out front and the band churned their way to a much-needed break.

While the first set was quite a workout that left the audience a bit out of breath, the second set was shorter and lighter. Fifth Season, a composition from Occhipinti's CD titled Duologue Vol. 2, started the second set, and Occhipinti had fun setting the pace and adjusting the tempos with some clever chord changes that had the band on their toes.

A couple more songs from his older CDs followed, David Leaves and Elan Vital, and they came back for one encore before the night came to a close.

With one more stop on their Canadian tour, the David Occhipinti Quartet will be heading back to their home base in Toronto soon, but the audience that caught them here on Friday were treated to some superb Canadian jazz.
back to reviews