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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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The Top 5 Albums of 2013 As Chosen By JP Fallavollita

There was certainly no dearth of great music to listen to in 2013. Albums from both new bands and old mainstays shone a light on music-lovers moods, attitudes and deep-seated emotions. Although there were great albums, I remember thinking that new music left me a little wanting in 2012. Misguided or not, this year more than made up for that thought with strong offerings from Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, The National, Vampire Weekend and Arcade Fire.

With so many fantastic sounds echoing through speakers, ears and minds, it was a tough ask to whittle my love of 2013 music down. As always, I found myself gravitating to the albums and songs I listened to the most throughout the year. They’re the ones that stood out from the rest – and a common theme seemed to emerge: surprise.

Here then, after the jump, are my top five albums of 2013.

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Summer Listening With Fitz and the Tantrums’ More Than Just A Dream

More_Than_Just_A_DreamLast year, my album of the summer belong to The Beach Boys’ and their reunion album, That’s Why God Made The Radio. It was this great mix of upbeat surfin’ and party songs, matched with the melancholy that only Brian Wilson could create.

While it may be too early to tell, I would wager that at least one of the albums I’ll be listening to a lot this summer is the second album from Fitz and the Tantrums, out today.

More Than Just A Dream is the second studio album from the band, and their first on Elektra Records. Full of upbeat and catchy tracks, the album definitely makes good on all the hype and buzz that surrounded the group two years ago, when their debut album Pick Up The Pieces was all the rage.

There are lots of fun, catchy tracks throughout More Than Just A Dream, but for me, the standouts were the opening song, Out Of My League, and The Walker, which is sure to remind folks of Peter, Bjorn and John and the New Pornographers. Take a listen and I’m sure you’ll agree.

More Than Just A Dream could have been maybe two songs shorter, but this is really a fun, poppy record that keeps the energy high and the melodies memorable. Check it out – you might just find your summer album comes from Fitz and the Tantrums.

What do Willie Nelson and Adam Lambert have in common? Nothing, but they are both worth checking out in this weeks’ new releases

 Add It To The Collection: Willie Nelson, the perennial country outlaw, highwayman and poster boy for the legalization of pot, is on the cusp of his 80th birthday – there must be something to that little green leaf.  For more than 60 years Willie has travelled the world bringing is nasally vocal style to country classics and reimagined pop songs alike.  If his latest release, Heroes, is any indication, Willie has no plans to slow down and retire gracefully.  In fact, Willie continues to push the boundaries of country music and take his music to new audiences.  Heroes is far from a perfect album. 

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Perry Schwartz’s RDIO Cure – Stump Puts His Stamp On R&B While Joe Jonas Misses The Mark

There’s a lot of doom and gloom in the world today. So sometimes, music just needs to be fun.  Forget about the deep lyrics and challenging melodies and just go for some good old fashioned pop music that makes you want to get up and dance.

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