You may not know his name, but if you've walked down Gibbs Street during the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival, you've probably heard one of Roberto Occhipinti's bands, Soul Stew. You may have also caught him with Manuel Valera or one of the many other artists he's played with at the festival. Occhipinti is among the busiest bassists in Canada, and is known for his work in jazz, funk, soul, Latin, and classical music, not to mention soundtracks. His latest album, "Stabilimento" is a tour-de-force in terms of musicianship, composing, and arranging that grows richer with every listen.
Valera is on hand, along with the great drummer Dafnis Prieto and two excellent sax players: Tim Ries and Luis Deniz. The album boasts 21 musicians in all, including a mini orchestra of lush strings and muscular horns. The result is a gorgeous journey from Stevie Wonder through Wayne Shorter, all the way to Beethoven, with plenty of Occhipinti in the mix. "Stabilimento" is Italian for factory and there's a ruin of one depicted on the album cover, but the indefatigable spirit that went into producing this wonderful CD is definitely up and running.