THOMPSON EGBO-EGBO RELEASES NEW ALBUM WHAT REMAINS
RECENT FESTIVAL PERFORMANCES INCLUDE TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, KENSINGTON MARKET JAZZ FESTIVAL, AND ORILLIA JAZZ FESTIVAL
PERFORMING AT A CELEBRATION OF OSCAR PETERSON
WITH WINDSOR SYMPHONY IN FEBRUARY 2023
Toronto, ON – October 28, 2022 – Today, acclaimed Toronto composer and pianist, Thompson Egbo-Egbo releases his new album, What Remains, via MNRK Music Group. Sharing samples of the project through recent singles, Thompson create a sonic narrative that draws from themes of transition, rebirth, realignment, joy, and optimism for the future. Listen to What Remains here.
Thompson says of the new album, "What Remains honours our live performance tradition, but also gives the listener a glimpse of where the music is going."
Partly inspired by the shifts and impact the last two years of the pandemic has placed on both a personal and professional level, What Remains shows the growth and depth of Thompson’s writing. It is an offering of sonic catharsis, reflecting on how an artist’s life and well-being can be deeply impacted by global circumstances. In turn, it captures how one can embody characteristics of a phoenix to - fittingly - rise from what remains. Singles include the Latin Jazz-infused and triumphant, Anthem Rising, and Thompson's signature cover of Nirvana's iconic, Smells Like Teen Spirit.
Thompson recently rocked performances at the Slaight Stage and RBC House for the premiere of Tyler Perry's A Jazzman's Blues at Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), two shows at Kensington Market Jazz Festival and a stellar set with his trio at Orillia Jazz Festival.
In August, The Royal Canadian Mint honoured Oscar Peterson with a one dollar coin (loonie) with his likeness on it. The Céline Peterson and the Peterson family as well as the Royal Canadian Mint invited Thomson Egbo-Egbo to perform Peterson’s beloved composition, Hymn To Freedom, at the unveiling of the coin at Roy Thomson Hall. This marks a full-circle moment - in 2021, Thompson portrayed a young Oscar Peterson in an episode of Historica Canada’s Heritage Minute, honouring the artist’s life and career. Next year, Thompson will be performing Oscar Peterson's music for a special concert with the Windsor Symphony Orchestra on February 11, 2023. Looking ahead, listeners can expect to hear music from What Remains in a new docuseries project by Luminato Festival called Golden Hour, in the episode, Mighty Brave.
Learn more about Thompson's incredible career and the album below.
About Thompson Egbo-Egbo
Acclaimed Toronto composer and pianist Thompson Egbo-Egbo is always in key. Deeply rooted in his upbringing – moving to Canada from Nigeria at age four, commencing his dedication to playing the piano at the age of six – his innate aptitude and affection for the instrument resonates with him to this day. The key that keeps everything aligned is one where Thompson is in tune with his environment, collaborators, community and a signature approach to the art.
What Remains was recorded by Jeremy Darby and Julian Decorte at Canterbury Music Company, a favourite and frequented space for Thompson’s trio, Randall Hall on bass, and Jeff Halischuk on drums. Known for making their marks at notable venues in their homebase of Toronto and across North America, the group had the opportunity to record What Remains at a standstill due to lockdowns – a contrasting approach, as they would normally receive first take feedback from playing them in front of audiences before putting them to tape.
“With the world upside down, I find myself appreciating the chance just to be an artist and do what I love and to create something to share with the world. This album has brought the most satisfaction because of the time in which this was created,” Thompson says of the process.
The album has a wide range of inspiration, from classic rock to new wave jazz, Latin fusion, renditions of iconic songs of various eras and everything in between. Opening with Trinity – one of Thompson’s original cherished pieces and one the trio has had the pleasure of performing with alongside dancers – the album flows into Anthem Rising, a high energy blend of Latin and Funk, ready for intimate venues and foreign excursions.
A fresh element in the project is the inclusion of strings crafted by the Odin Quartet; Alex Toskov (violin), Tanya Charles Iveniuk (violin), Laurence Schaufele (viola) and Samuel Bisson (cello). Strings were always considered but never included until the opportunity presented itself. The Odin Quartet joins Thompson as the project moves into a stunning three-part suite that documents the pandemic journey in a contemplative and emotional arrangement. What Was Taken shows the challenges of change, What Remains is Thompson’s constant, a reminder to have gratitude for everything and everyone, and moving forward – the abundant and hopeful, What Possibilities, is a means to build and begin anew – with fresh perspective.
What Remains follows Thompson’s 2019 release, The Offering and 2018 album, A New Standard. While A New Standard sought to change the conversation, The Offering created a new dialogue about what audiences expect from a jazz trio. The recording process itself was an attempt to capture the essence of the live experience - the element that has been attracting an ever-growing audience to the trio’s concerts. A New Standard was Thompson’s debut on MNRK Music Group and sought to redefine the concept of the jazz standard, and included original takes on Radiohead, Bob Dylan and Laura Mvula tunes. It was recorded in the original trio format (Randall Hall on bass, and Jeff Halischuk on drums) marking a departure from the solo playing for which Thompson had become known.
Giving back is a trademark note of Thompson’s ethos. Thompson served as a member of the board at Dixon Hall for many years and is currently on the board at Jazz FM 91. His own organization, The Thompson T. Egbo-Egbo Arts Foundation, and Evolving Through the Arts program, supports elementary school students recognizing that a positive change and a sense of self-worth should be instilled in children early and they be afforded opportunities that all children should receive. The foundation aims to fill a void in the education of music and arts not found in many communities, and partners with talented Canadian musicians and artists to provide a well-rounded and focused curriculum.
With degrees in Music from Humber College, and music production at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, to releasing numerous works and collaborating with some of the world’s most renowned artists, Thompson’s involvement in music has seen many opportunities come his way. In 2021, Thompson portrayed a young Oscar Peterson in an episode of Historica Canada’s Heritage Minute, honouring the artist’s life and career. Last year, Thompson was set to cross the pond for a recording opportunity at Abbey Road Studios in London, UK, to write and record Oddly Familiar – an album released and archived with Audio Network’s sync library. Thompson didn't let postponed travel plans deter him, and proceeded at home in Toronto to share the music with international audiences.
Thompson Egbo-Egbo shares his experience, ideas and vision with vibrant energy. The key to his success is not solely unlocked by memorable, harmonically complex compositions that have at their core a deep, abiding groove, but the connections they create and the doors they open within the listener.
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