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Playing to ‘A New Standard’: Exclusive Interview With Jazz Pianist Thompson T. Egbo-Egbo

Among family, friends, and his many acquaintances, Thompson T. Egbo-Egbo is known for his infectiously positive spirit, his playful hijinks, and a smile that absolutely lights up a room.

But it’s the music that emanates deep within Egbo-Egbo’s soul his piano as a constant appendage, his jazz, classical and pop leanings and the constant intermingling and pushing of musical genres that reveals the creative standard of the man. As a Toronto-based pianist, composer, producer and sound designer, 2018 marks the official release of his new musical work, appropriately titled A New Standard.

The twelve-song album contains a wide selection of entries originally created by a number of legendary composers over the last two centuries. They are, naturally for Egbo-Egbo, culled from disparate genres: classical, jazz, and curiously, even rock music. In A New Standard, Egbo-Egbo lovingly performs a fun and up-temp version of Sigmund Romberg’s and Oscar Hammerstein II’s “Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise,” as well as a rollicking account of John Coltrane’s “Mr. P.C.” that merges brilliantly into the classically jazzy and beloved theme song from the 1967 Spider-Man cartoon by composers Paul Webster and Robert Harris.

In a more contemporary sense, Egbo-Egbo’s rendition of Bob Dylan’s”Make You Feel My Love” brings a wonderfully fresh and emotional sense of affection to the beloved classic, but surprisingly, there’s also a perfectly lonely interpretation of Radiohead’s “Exit Music (For a Film)” found on the new compilation, whose aural sense of isolation any fan of the band might expect and adore. This time, it’s just with a piano.

Biff Bam Pop’s consulting editor and regular contributor, JP Fallavollita, got the chance to steal Thompson T. Egbo-Egbo away from his busy schedule to talk music, his home city of Toronto, and the release of his latest album, the shimmering and wonderful A New Standard. Read the rest of this entry

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True Blood S07 E04: Death Is Not The End

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This episode’s title might have interesting meaning after last week’s unceremonious death of Joe Manganiello’s Alcide, and then again it might not. The showrunners on HBO’s “True Blood” have promised at least one character death in each episode of its final season, and so far they’ve kept that promise, even if Alcide was shamefully and almost criminally underused before being escorted off to oblivion last week. What happens next? Check out my review of “Death Is Not The End,” after the jump.

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The Real “Voice” – Bob Dylan’s The Bootleg Series Volume 10 Another Self Portrait Reviewed

Talk to someone who isn’t a Bob Dylan fan and they’ll often tell you, “it’s the voice.” That nasal tone from the 60’s; the rasp that it has developed into over the past thirty years. Truth be told, I get it. Dylan’s voice isn’t for everyone, and can definitely be hinderance in discovering his brilliance.

Now, if I want to try and turn someone onto Dylan, I’ve got the perfect collection for them; the latest edition of the Bootleg Series, in stores today, and featuring outtakes recorded between 1969 and 1971. It’s titled Another Self Portrait and it is an absolutely stunning listen.


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Glenn Walker’s Top Fives for 2012

best1Everybody at Biff Bam Pop! is talking about Top Fives, so I guess it’s my turn. Put on your seat belts, because as the regular readers around here know already, my tastes are not normal. I liked Santa Claus and hated Dark Knight. It’s going to be a bumpy ride. Next, after the jump, my top fives in film, music, television, and comic books. Look out.

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Biff Bam Popcast Tonight – AvX, The Lords of Salem, Zero Month, Bob Dylan and more!

BiffBamPop! LogoTonight at 10, JP Fallavollita, Glenn Walker and Andy Burns will sit down for the next installment of the Biff Bam Popcast. Up for discussion – the fatality that rocked the comic book world in Avengers vs X-Men #11; DC’s ongoing Zero Month, impressions of the new Bob Dylan album Tempest, and Andy’s thoughts on Rob Zombie’s The Lords of Salem. Check back here at 1opm live to watch the stream.

Exclusive Album Review – Bob Dylan`s Tempest Takes Us On A Dark Journey

Bob Dylan has spent the last decade-and-a-half criss-crossing the world on his ‘never-ending tour’ while releasing four critically-acclaimed albums and one head-scratching holiday record. Next week Dylan releases Tempest, his remarkable 35th studio album and a bold if not brooding statement from a man in his 70’s.

iTunes has been streaming the album all week which has led to tremendous online buzz as well as pronouncements of ‘Dylan’s return to greatness’ and ‘best album since…’ declarations.  I won’t pretend to be a Dylan historian or attempt to rank this album within his incredible cannon of work.  Instead, let’s just take his latest offering for what it is…an amazing record.

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Fall Music Preview – Looking At New Singles From Green Day, Matchbox 20, Bob Dylan And More!

While August has been fairly lacklustre in terms of solid new album releases, there’s a ton of great material on the horizon for Fall 2012.  Many artists have released singles from their forthcoming releases and here’s a look at the hits and misses so far.

Green Day, “Oh Love” – If you’d have told me in 1994 that Green Day would be one of the most consistent bands over the next 20 years, releasing hit singles, critically acclaimed concept albums and inspiring a successful Broadway production, I would have suggested that perhaps you took one too many shots of mud to the head during their Woodstock ’94 performance.  65 million albums and multiple Grammy awards later, the San Francisco, California power-trio continues to deliver radio-friendly tracks while somehow maintaining their punk rock credibility.  “Oh Love” is the first single from their upcoming trilogy of albums ¡Uno!, ¡Dos!, and ¡Tré! to be released between September and January.  The track finds lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong in strong voice delivering a catchy, power-pop anthem that works as both a sing-a-long and arena rocker.

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Now Hear This: Beatlemania and How to Organize Your Digital Music

I know, there is nothing new to be said about The Beatles. They are the most influential, recognizable, and adored rock band of all time. I’m not here to break down their song structure or to try and find a new angle at which to explore their music. I’m here to use The Beatles vast catalogue as a means with which to discuss organizing digital music collections.

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Defeating the January New Music Blahs With Parov Stelar, Kathleen Edwards and Classic Dylan

January, and even sometimes February, is usually a bit of a snooze if you’re the type who waits all week for New Music Tuesday. The October – December holiday shopping season is stacked with major releases, leaving the beginning of the new year a bit wanting.

What are you supposed to do in this lull? We have a few suggestions on how you can treat your ears in these less obvious times.

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Bird Fly High-JP Wishes Bob Dylan A Happy Seventieth Birthday

I grew into Bob Dylan. I was not born unto him. That’s a possible assertion to be made by a generation not mine, but it doesn’t negate the importance his music and poetry have had on my own life. In fact, his art has had some lasting effects, surprising to even me. Only now, examining his oeuvre of extensive music on the eve of his seventieth birthday, and at the request of Biff Bam Pop! Editor-In-Chief, Andy Burns, do I see how lasting those effects have been.

There are two pieces of his music that carry a significant importance to my life:

Most of the Time, found on the Danial Lanois produced 1989 album, Oh Mercy, came to me late. I first noticed it while watching the film High Fidelity in the spring of 2000. A melancholy take on lost love, the song discovered me at a moment in my life when I was enduring an emotional toil espoused in the lyrics and music of the song. An understanding Dylan helped me through a rough patch along with close friends and time. Interestingly, our resident Editor-In-Chief, newly met at that period of my life, became and remains one of those close friends. In some was, Dylan was, and still is, part of our friendship.

But let me take you back now to a time when I was still a child.

At ten years of age, I was just discovering music with the help of the radio and music videos on television. It was 1983 and, turning channels on the family’s old Zenith, I came across Jokerman. My first encounter with him, I didn’t know if Dylan, here, was singer, poet, philosopher or preacher. My ten year-old eyes recognized some of the imagery of the video and was interested in many of the others: the politics of Kennedy and Reagan, the science of astronauts, the faith found within a church bible and the emotion in the artistry of Michelangelo, Munch and Picasso. And then there was the laughing comic book image of Batman’s arch nemesis, the Joker. Those images, from both the video and the lyrics of the song, stayed with me through my teens, and stay with me today, though my adult years.

Dylan was present in my life at a time when my interests and passions were first swirling, emerging and developing: art history, politics, philosophy, religion and even comic books. He was there, under different guises, during each break up and heart ache, on good days and nights, triumphs and travails and he remains an ever present companion in uncertain times, constantly changing, always recognizable.

Happy seventieth birthday Bob Dylan. Bird fly high by the light of the moon.

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