Jazz Pianist Isaiah J. Thompson Offers Up a Spirit-Lifting Tribute to Vince Guaraldi This Christmas
A Guaraldi Holiday Set for December 1 Release
Rising Star On Tap to join an All-Star Cast Performing at New York City’s Fabled Carnegie Hall November 28
Nashville, Tenn. (October 27, 2023) – Acclaimed pianist and composer Isaiah J. Thompson offers jazz lovers a spirit-lifting gift this holiday season, announcing the release of A Guaraldi Holiday (Outside In Music/Jazz Bird Records) on December 1st.
A tribute to the eclectic music of Vince Guaraldi – work which served as a both an introduction to jazz, and as a childhood soundtrack for generations of music lovers, Thompson included – the invigorating set was co-produced by Thompson with John Pizzarelli and features 12 fresh tracks, each one an exercise in nostalgic expressionism.
Filled with adventurous and spirited full band performances, the album is led by Thompson’s crisp piano and warmed by a contemporary creative fire – yet harkens back to the iconic holiday TV specials of mid-century America. For many families, those music-filled shows turned into annual traditions, and for Thompson, they helped inspire the beginnings of a fast-rising career.
“To this day, any time I hear ‘Christmas Time Is Here,’ ‘Thanksgiving Theme’ or ‘Linus and Lucy,’ I’m reminded how much Guaraldi’s music has shaped who I am today,” he says. “The holidays carry so many of my most precious memories and I can’t imagine them without Guaraldi. I want to pay tribute to him because for so many people I believe Vince Guaraldi may have been their introduction to great music and to jazz.”
While the full set is due on December 1 – just as the Christmas season arrives – early singles include the October release of “Great Pumpkin Waltz,” and an upcoming double single reveal of “Thanksgiving Theme” and “Little Birdie,” set for November 10.
A New Jersey native and exciting young talent, Thompson has spent the last five years emerging as an up-and-coming pianist, bandleader and composer, and has now been embraced by Jazz fans and tastemakers alike. His album A Guaraldi Holiday is due on Dec 1.
Spinning regularly on Sirius XM’s Real Jazz, he recently sold out four shows at Jazz at Lincoln Center, has toured with Wynton Marsalis and John Pizzarelli and was featured on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert Series. Promoting the network to call him “… a young musician and composer with a mature touch and rare combination of talent, creativity, humility and honesty.”
Likewise, Thompson is the winner of the 2023 American Pianists Awards, the recipient of the Cole Porter Fellowship in Jazz (awarded by the American Pianists Association). Additionally, he was tapped by Steinway and Disney to record a piece for their new signature Mickey Mouse limited edition Spirio hand-painted player pianos. The unique grand pianos were designed in celebration of 100 Years Of Disney. Read more about this collaboration here.
Next month, just days before the release of the album, Thompson will join an all-star cast consisting of The Philadelphia Orchestra, Itzhak Perlman, and more to perform at New York City’s fabled Carnegie Hall in celebration of Rafael Viñoly on November 28. Read more about the performance here.
About Isaiah J. Thompson:
A native of West Orange, New Jersey, Isaiah J. Thompson is a pianist, bandleader and composer, and one of the most exciting new faces in jazz of his generation. After graduating with both Bachelor’s and Master’s of Music degrees from the prestigious program at The Juilliard School, he has performed alongside major artists including Wynton Marsalis, Ron Carter, John Pizzarelli, Christian McBride, Cécile McLorin Salvant, Steve Turre and Buster Williams. A part of the Golden Globe nominated soundtrack for Motherless Brooklyn, Thompson was likewise named a Steinway Artist and has been recognized with the 2018 Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Award, the 2023 American Pianists Awards, and as the recipient of the Cole Porter Fellowship in Jazz, awarded by the American Pianists Association. His recording debut was featured on Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Blue Engine Records’ Handful of Keys album with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, and he has since released multiple recordings as a leader.