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Michael Occhipinti and Creation Dream ( )

Chasing After Light
True North ( @truenorthrecord )
Toronto guitarist/composer/arranger Michael Occhipinti has spent a number of years adapting the music of Bruce Cockburn to jazz and writing songs that are heavily influenced by Cockburn for hisCreation Dream project. His Songs of Bruce Cockburn included "covers" of such songs as "Wondering Where the Lions Are" and "If I Had a Rocket Launcher" back in 2001. Some six years later he has returned to his Creation Dream project with this new CD Chasing After Light. The CD contains nine originals from Occhipinti and the tenth and final cut is Cockburn's "All the Diamonds in the World." Michael Occhipinti has assembled a talented group of musicians in Kevin Turcotte on trumpet, Barry Romberg on drums and percussion, Andrew Downing on bass, except for Roberto Occhipinti on one track and Hugh Marsh on violin. The perennial band member Turcotte (why are there not a whole bunch of recordings with him as leader?) plays brilliantly on this CD. His solo run on "Ballo della Famiglia" evokes a noisy family gathering. On "In Orbit" he reminds me of the entire horn section from Dr. Music back in the '70s before settling into a Miles Davis sound near the end of the song. Downing and Romberg provide a great solid rhythm section, with Occhipinti often joining them while Marsh and Turcotte play some unreal sounds. Yet it is Occhipinti's CD and he does showcase his talents. On "Cubist" he lets loose with some wild guitar reminiscent of Frank Zappa and his speedy guitar licks on "Compulsive Talker" harkens back to the album title i Chasing After Lighti0 . Lest we forget light moves at the rate of 299,792.458 metres per second. Still, this project is about Bruce Cockburn and Michael Occhipinti's admiration of his music. The cuts that I found to have the Cockburn feel are "Clouds," "High Romance," and obviously "All the Diamonds in the World." They are surrounded by songs that evoke the blues ("Blackout Blues"), early traditional jazz ("Compulsive Talkers") and maybe even a Latin feel ("The Cubists"). Chasing After Light fuses all this and more. Michael Occhipinti choices may seem all over the place, but he somehow synthesizes these tracks into an enjoyable CD which should appeal to fans of many genres.

By Jim Dupuis
Jun 5, 2007

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