Published May 29, 2019Toronto artist Thompson Egbo-Egbo defines himself as a Renaissance man, by way of Regent Park. Born in Nigeria, he emigrated to the much-maligned, much-thriving-thank-you-very-much Toronto neighbourhood at a young age; the jazz pianist cites his background and early start at a local music school — before furthering his jazz training at Humber College, and then Boston's Berklee College of Music — as motivation for the next generation of black artists to dream big.
The Offering sees the Thompson Egbo-Egbo Trio (including Randall Hall on bass and Jeff Halischuk on drums) across ten tracks — a chunk of which were written on stage, then recorded live — deliver a musical missive to the city he loves and thrives in.
"It's Not That Serious" taps into a lighthearted, playful piano vibe underscored by a driving percussive score, standout track "The Storm" crackles with thunderous thrust and a sonic evocation of nature, the trio have a pleasant romp with standard "Beautiful Love" and the meditative slink of "The Tribute" wraps up the project nicely.
A key component of Toronto's Soulpepper Theatre production 88KEYS, also Egbo-Egbo presently sits on the board of Regent Park community centre Dixon Hall and created an arts foundation aimed at giving back to the very place that helped him grow. In the same vein, The Offering is a emphatic statement of jazz, joy and perseverance. (eOne)