NOJO, Neufeld-Occhipinti Jazz Orchestra

Winners of 2002 National Jazz Award for Big Band Of The Year, and a JUNO Award for Best Contemporary Jazz Album, NOJO continues to create a stir with its daring and joyous music. Featuring some of Canada's best improvising musicians, the original music of pianist Paul Neufeld and guitarist Michael Occhipinti draws on a diversity of styles, incorporating funk, blues, west African music, and a century of jazz. With its infectious grooves, bold melodies, and colourful textures, NOJO has recently released its fourth CD Highwire and completed a 16-date Canadian tour, and just returned from a concert tour in Holland.

Since its inception in 1994, NOJO has performed at numerous jazz festivals and venues, including the prestigious Umbria Jazz Winter Festival in Orvieto, Italy and at the renowned Festival International de Jazz de Montreal. Creating music that's caught the attention of some of the most important names in jazz, 2001 saw NOJO performing with Ray Anderson at the Toronto Jazz Festival, Don Byron at the Guelph Jazz Festival, and with Sam Rivers at the Markham Jazz Festival, as well as a standing-room-only weekend at Toronto's Top O' The Senator jazz club. Covering a broad stylistic range with an intensity that few groups can match, NOJO performs with a friendly spirit and a high level of musicianship that puts it on par with the best large ensembles anywhere.

In June of 1997, NOJO began an ongoing collaboration with celebrated clarinetist Don Byron, who has been NOJO's frequent 17th member ever since, appearing on both Highwire and the group's previous CD You Are Here. As well as performing with Byron, Ray Anderson, and Sam Rivers, NOJO has also performed with trumpet great Kenny Wheeler, and tenor saxophone player Joe Lovano. NOJO's four CDs include their JUNO winning self-titled debut CD (released 1995), and the JUNO nominated follow-up CDs, FireWater (1996), You Are Here (1998), and Highwire (2002.) Both Highwire and You Are Here are available on True North Records, distributed by Universal. Look for a CD of the NOJO9 plus legendary saxophonist Sam Rivers in 2004.

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