Roberto Occhipinti

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About Roberto Occhipinti

Bassist Roberto Occhipinti was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on March 25, 1955. He comes from a prominent musical family that includes two guitarists: younger brother Michael and cousin David. Michael Occhipinti is a well-known sideman and co-founder of NOJO -- the Neufeld-Occhipinti Jazz Orchestra. At the University of Toronto, beginning in 1972, Roberto Occhipinti studied under Thomas Monohan and was mentored by Joel Quarrington and especially the acclaimed jazz bassist Dave Young. He was a member of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra in the mid-'70s, the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra in the early to mid-'80s, and the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra in the mid- to late '80s; was principal bassist with the Esprit Orchestra from 1986 to 1994; and was a longstanding member of Arraymusic from 1979-2000. By 1997, Occhipinti began working with Cuban expatriate jazz pianist Hilario Durán, then saxophonist Jane Bunnett's Spirits of Havana, NOJO with guest Sam Rivers or Don Byron, the Toronto sextet Soul Stew, Marty Morell, Gorillaz, Englishman Damon Albarn's Mali Music, the Russian Globalis Symphony Orchestra, the True North Brass, Jovino Santos Neto, the Gryphon Trio, the St. Lawrence Quartet, and Via Salzburg. Also a well-respected producer, Occhipinti has worked for Hilario Durán, Dafnis Prieto, Quartetto Gelato, and the Shurum Burum Jazz Circus, and has been a music director and orchestra contractor for films and commercials. He received an Artist Diploma from the University of Toronto in 1999, and in 2001, as part of Bunnett's Spirits of Havana, he shared the Juno award for Best Global Album. In 2005 he received his own Juno as producer of Durán's New Danzon CD. Other awards include the National Jazz Award for Producer of the Year in 2005 and 2006, and Acoustic Group of the Year for his own band in 2005. In 2006 he received a SOCAN award for the cartoon series George Shrinks. ~ Michael G. Nastos