Guitarist/composer Michael Occhipinti is best known as the co-leader and composer (along with pianist/composer Paul Neufeld) for the 16-piece group NOJO, winners of the 1996 JUNO Award for Best Contemporary Jazz Album. NOJO has established itself as an innovative large ensemble, and has performed with such jazz greats as Don Byron, Joe Lovano, Ray Anderson, and Kenny Wheeler. Creation Dream, is Occhipintiís third album. His previous releases are 1998's Surrealist Blues and his 1994 debut CD Who Meets Who?Recording Creation Dream was an opportunity for Michael Occhipinti to fulfil many of his beliefs about contemporary music in today's jazz world. Over the years I've enjoyed finding pop music I loved as a teenager and incorporating it into my jazz group states Michael. Think about it. Miles and Bird performed the pop music of their day, and they knew those songs simply from hearing and absorbing them as the sound around them. As much as I love the jazz standards songbook, I often have to buy recordings of tunes I've never heard before so I can memorize and perform them, because they aren't part of my own cultural and musical experience. Nobody has to do that with the music they've grown up with, and not surprisingly, performing that music feels somehow more instinctive and satisfying. Paying tribute to the music you grew up with is certainly overdue.The players on Creation Dream are a fully stocked ensemble willing and able to dig into Cockburnís repertoire with passion. Occhipintiís twelve arrangements are beautifully constructed and range, sonically, from gritty to elegant. Produced by Jon Goldsmith, internationally renowned clarinetist Don Byron adds his inimitable playing to the stellar cast of performers found on the record. Occhipinti's guitar work is complimented by the superb rhythm team of bassist Andrew Downing and drummer Barry Romberg,with additional help from Jean Martin. Add trumpeter Kevin Turcotte, violinist Hugh Marsh and saxophonist Mike Murley, and you've combined the talents of some of the most formidable musicians this country has produced. Add the touch of Bruce Cockburn's own guitar mastery to the mix, and you have the exceptional performers who shine on this special recording.