THOMPSON EGBO-EGBO LAUNCHES TORONTO RESIDENCY AT THE REX HOTEL
LIVE PERFORMANCES EVERY TUESDAY NIGHT THROUGH MARCH 2018
LATEST ALBUM A NEW STANDARD OUT NOW
Toronto, ON – February 26, 2018 – Canadian jazz pianist, Thompson Egbo-Egbo, has announced a residency at iconic venue, The Rex Hotel, in his hometown of Toronto. He will perform with the Thompson Egbo-Egbo Trio every Tuesday night from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm throughout the month of March, delivering exclusive sets in an intimate setting. See complete list of dates and info below.
The residency follows his latest album, A New Standard, released on January 19 via Entertainment One Music. A New Standard is a brilliant display of his limitless musical vision. It is the first made with his group consisting of drummer, Jeff Halischuk, and bassist, Randall Hall. Listen to the lead single, My Favourite Things, and purchase/stream the album now.
Thompson has been making his rounds in the city to share insight on the new album, highlighted through interviews at CP24 Breakfast, and CBC Radio One’s Fresh Air with Nana Aba Duncan. In addition, you can learn more about Thompson’s unique career and captivating personality as a participant in FNTSY Sports Network’s new series, Draft Everything.
As A New Standard’s title playfully suggests, Egbo-Egbo’s song selection touches on relatively recent compositions by artists such as Bob Dylan and Radiohead, while deftly transforming some old favourites, with a particular nod to the legacy of John Coltrane. Interpreted another way, A New Standard represents Egbo-Egbo’s continuing evolution as a player, writer and arranger while staying true to a classic trio format.
However, the blending of old and new is only one facet of Egbo-Egbo’s musical personality. Balancing his world-class chops is a natural ability to infuse raw emotion into everything he plays, whether it’s a majestic take of the traditional Hebrew love song, Lo Baiom Velo Balyla, or a sly melding of Coltrane’s Mr. PC with the Spider-Man television show theme.
“My approach has always been to play in a way that sounds right to me, while at the same time creating stuff that’s accessible to as many people as possible,” Egbo-Egbo says. “I don’t see it as making concessions to the pop world or any other genre. We all have unlimited access to every kind of music now, so I feel I’m a position to add whatever elements I’m interested in to my sound.”
That range of influences is further underscored by A New Standard’s opening combination of Benny Golson’s Whisper Not from 1956 and Sing To The Moon, the title track from British artist Laura Mvula’s 2013 Mercury Prize-nominated debut. Egbo-Egbo’s arrangement of the latter is the only vocal on A New Standard, performed by Toronto singer, Nikki Ponte, whom the pianist had met in Greece after her stint on the country’s version of the television show, The X Factor. Elsewhere on the album, You Must Believe In Spring is a tip of the cap to Bill Evans, while a jaunty take of Antonio Carlos Jobim’s Favela adds some Brazilian flavour to the mix.
About Thompson Egbo-Egbo
Born in Nigeria, Thompson came to Toronto with his family at the age of four and started playing piano two years later. His talents were quickly developed through a local music school, created specifically to provide neighborhood kids with affordable lessons. Egbo-Egbo went on to study Jazz Performance at Toronto’s Humber College and then, with the help of a partial scholarship and several benefactors, attended Berklee College of Music in Boston for three years.
He later expanded his studies into production and sound design, which led to composing music for the Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre, and performing with the London production of the popular Canadian stage play, Da Kink In My Hair. This in turn brought further opportunities, including playing for Quincy Jones, as well as for H.R.H Prince Charles, H.R.H. Prince Edward, and H.R.H. Prince Phillip. He also recorded and toured with Toronto R&B artists, Ayah and Saidah Baba Talibah, now known as Merna and SATE.
Perhaps one of Egbo-Egbo’s greatest career milestones came in 2007 when he was commissioned to produce a medley for that year’s Canadian Songwriter’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony, a class that included no less than Joni Mitchell. This wealth of experience eventually resulted in Egbo-Egbo releasing his first solo album, Short Stories, in 2014. In some ways, it encapsulated his life’s journey to that point and laid the foundation for the exciting directions his music has taken on A New Standard.
Such boundless musical curiosity and inventiveness is what continues to drive Egbo-Egbo creatively, and also motivates him to help a new generation of Toronto kids to transcend their social and economic circumstances through music, just as the Dixon Hall Music School in Regent Park helped him. Specifically, the Thompson T. Egbo-Egbo Arts Foundation has run a program in the Jane/Finch neighborhood teaching composition to kids, and has also collaborated with Regent Park urban music artist Mustafa the Poet on a video, Spectrum Of Hope, intended in part to showcase the community’s revitalization.
Egbo-Egbo’s mantra has long been that you always make the best choice if you have a choice. Perhaps it could be added that music is rarely ever the wrong choice. “I was very fortunate when I was a kid,” he says. “So I feel I kind of have a responsibility to be an example of how when you give a kid opportunities, it can lead to real results. Some people still don’t realize how isolated many communities are, so engaging with them, and encouraging others to do likewise, will always be the main goal of my Foundation, and, in essence, my music as well.”
Thompson Egbo-Egbo Trio Live at The Rex Hotel
Every Tuesday in March (6, 13, 20, 27) from 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Admission is Pay What You Can
The Rex Hotel - 194 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5V 1Z1