“Life under COVID has been a challenge for all of us, as an owner of a recording studio, I was fortunate, that I could keep recording throughout the pandemic.
In addition to recording and producing other projects, I decided I would concentrate my own efforts on doing a piano trio project, one my favourite musical combinations, from the time I started playing bass after hearing Ray Brown in the Oscar Peterson Trio and moving on to the classic Bill Evans trio with Scott LoFaro, to my work with the Hilario Duran Trio.
Joining me on this project is the very fine Canadian pianist, Adrean Farrugia, and drumming phenomenon Larnell Lewis, two musicians I have known since they were both young men, starting in the Toronto Jazz scene.
My other recording projects were for large scale ensembles, with winds and strings, but for this one, I would be the string section, using techniques I learned in my career, playing Classical and Contemporary music .” Roberto Occhipinti
- The Next Step: This piece was written as a memorial to some friends who had passed, I played the arco melody, overdubbed the harmonics and then added the trio playing live off the floor.
- Il Muro (the wall): This was written for my friend and pianist on the project Adrean Farrugia. In a challenging year, he was always enthusiastic about playing , always wanting to move forward ,pushing through any obstacle or wall that blocks our progress.
- The Peacocks: This is a beautiful ballad by Jimmy Rowles that I wanted to do as a solo bass piece. I recorded it and decided to overdub a series of natural harmonics to fill out the backgrounds.
- Emancipation Day: Every August 1, with my colleague Michael Dunston, we do a concert celebrating Emancipation Day, in Owen Sound, the terminus of the Underground Railroad in Canada. It’s similar to the Juneteenth holiday in the USA and has Tony Allen Afrobeat vibe to it.
- O Cessate Di Piagarmi: This piece was written by Alessandro Scarlatti in 1640. I was asked to arrange it for an Italian movie and I was so taken by Ilaria Crociani’s voice , I decided to do a trio version with my re-harmonized changes.
- Three Man Crew: This piece was in response to a challenge by my good friend and collaborator Manuel Valera, to write a piece in 30 minutes. I decided to keep as much 3 as possible , by writing it in 3/4 with 3 bar phrases end played by a Trio. I did clean it up a bit after though.
- Steveland: I’m a huge Stevie Wonder fan and got to work with on his Songs In The Key Of Life tour. I played this melody with the bow, emulating his harmonic playing and
with a tune referencing some of his harmonic language.
- Opus Pocus: Jaco Pastorius was a major influence on my musical aesthetic, not only for the bass playing but also his composing and breadth of musical interests. The original version of this had steel pans, Rhodes piano and electric bass. I decided to do it all acoustically ,with overdubbed harmonics filling the role of the pans. A huge amount of gratitude to Adrean and Larnell, for their great playing, gracious attitudes and good humoured patience.
Thanks also to all the musicians who came down to the studio and played during lockdown, it was great therapy for all of us. Special thanks to Mark Kelso, Ewen Farmcombe , Sydney Galbraith and of course to my loving wife Nancy and my son Giorgio.