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.
On his forthcoming project, set for release via MNRK Music Group this fall, Thompson will draw from themes of transition, rebirth, realignment, joy, and optimism for the future. Partly inspired by the shifts and impact the last two years of the pandemic has placed on both a personal and professional level, audiences will experience the growth and depth of Thompson’s writing, as an offering of sonic catharsis and hope.
The project’s first single, Smells Like Teen Spirit, is a classic cover that many may have heard in one of Thompson’s live performances. The reimagined version shows that, no matter where it’s played or who it’s played for, it connects with people of all generations and cultures.
Before Thompson began playing his way through landmark venues across Toronto, he honed his skill in the heart of the city. At Dixon Hall, a community center down the street from where he grew up in Toronto’s Regent Park, he was able to take piano lessons at two dollars a session. Growing up in subsidized government development area of Toronto, Egbo-Egbo was awed by the fact a group of people thought enough of the residences to build a musical school so that the children of the neighborhood could enjoy to enjoy the neighbourhood could enjoy the access of affordable music lessons. As this experience struck a chord in his youth, 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, targets 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, dedicated to creating a resource for underprivileged Canadian youth to advance in music and the arts, empowers them through a safe environment to learn and express themselves artistically, and provides a platform for children to build their confidence, leadership and teamwork skills.
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. Last year, Thompson portrayed a young Oscar Peterson in an episode of Historical Canada’s Heritage Minutes, honouring the artist’s life and career. While he was set to cross the pond for a recording opportunity at Abbey Road Studios in London, UK, Thompson was still ableto proceed in Toronto to write and record Oddly Familiar – an album released and archived with Audio Network’s sync library.
Looking ahead, listeners can expect to hear music from the new album in a docuseries project by Luminato Festival called Golden Hour. The trio will perform at a selection of Ontario festival dates including Toronto International Film Festival, Kensington Market Jazz Festival, and Orillia Jazz Festival. Next year, Thompson will be performing Oscar Peterson's music for a special concert with the Windsor Symphony Orchestra in February 2023. 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.
Connect with Thompson: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube | Spotify
DATE: June 12, 2020
TIME: 7 PM – 8 PM EDST
EVENT: LIVEstream.LOVEJAZZ Series
VENUE: Shady Acres Studio (St. Catharines) and ???(This event will be Livestreamed)
Click here for event details