MUSIC IN RESIDENCY WITH SOA + Thompson Egbo-Egbo
Big Lake Fest + Drake Devonshire are proud to present ‘Music in Residency’, a new performance series happening in the Glass Box the last week of each month. Drop by Wednesday or Thursday afternoon to catch a glimpse of some of Canada’s young emerging musicians and beloved artists from the jazz scene as they are rehearsing for their upcoming concert at The Cape. This instalment sees SOA + Thompson Egbo-Egbo rehearsing, but you never know who else might show up.
SOA (Chrystelle Maechler) started her music career on the jazz and blues scene in Germany in 2001. When she moved to Montreal in 2006, she sang with musicians such as Jean-Christophe Béney, Felix Stüssi, John Roney and the Big Band GEMU. In 2008, she launched her first musical project, ORANGE KITCHEN. In 2011, Chrystelle embarked on a more personal music project with SOA - a word meaning "beautiful or precious" in the language of Madagascar, her parents' country of origin. SOA then combined acoustic jazz and rhythms of African descent. With percussionist Moïse Yawo Matey and pianist Éric St-Jean; they launched the EP A New Life.
Established in Toronto since 2014, SOA collaborated with Toronto musicians such as Joel Visentin and Sarah Thawer and released the album Reflections in 2016. In 2021, she released a groovy EP entirely in French named “Influences” under the banner SOA & Friends. On that EP, she collaborated with Thompson Egbo-Egbo and his trio and invited guest musicians such as trumpets and Juno Award-Winner, Alexis Baro. Maechler has performed on jazz stages in Montreal, Toronto, but also in Guatemala, France and Germany. The documentary Trying to Make it Real: A Jazz Journey captures the most beautiful moments of her European tour.
Hailing from Toronto, Ontario, Thompson Egbo-Egbo is a pianist with a gift for memorable but harmonically complex compositions that have at their core a deep, abiding groove. A rambunctious and free spirit was channeled in a creative direction with piano lessons at an inner-city music school. After graduating from high school, Egbo-Egbo earned a degree in Music from Humber College and studied electronic production and design at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. An ever popular performer, many solo engagements turned into long-term residencies at venues like The Shangri-La Hotel & Jacob’s Steakhouse. In 2014, Egbo-Egbo released ‘Short Stories’, a collection of original solo piano compositions inspired by his residency performances.
Four years later, Egbo-Egbo issued ‘A New Standard’ for eOne, which sought to redefine the concept of the jazz standard, and included original takes on Radiohead, Bob Dylan and Laura Mvula tunes. The album was recorded in a trio format, with Randall Hall on bass, and Jeff Halischuk on drums, marking a departure from the solo playing for which Egbo-Egbo had become known. For ‘The Offering’, Egbo-Egbo has returned to the trio format. If ‘A New Standard’ sought to change the conversation, ‘The Offering’ seeks to create a new dialogue about what we expect from a ‘jazz’ trio. Whereas ‘A New Standard’ was recorded and then performed, many of the tracks on ‘The Offering’ were written on stage, and put to tape after they’d been fleshed out live. This adds a presence and muscular tone to the album. The recording process itself was an attempt to capture the essence of the trio live – the element that has been attracting an ever growing audience to the trio’s concerts