Five Questions With The Stewart Goodyear Quintet

Canadian virtuoso pianist Stewart Goodyear would normally be busy travelling the world and performing at some of the most prestigious venues around the globe. With the pandemic, however, that’s not possible, so Goodyear is using this opportunity to get his daring, distinctive sound out to as wide an audience as possible.

He has released his new single, “Congotay” with his quintet, which includes masterful musicians Michael Occhipinti (electric guitar), Joy Lapps-Lewis (steel drums), Larnell Lewis (drums) and Roberto Occhipinti (electric bass).

The new single “Congotay,” meaning “one day, one day,” is a Trinidadian expression that refers to the time that will come when individuals will have to pay for their misdeeds. Goodyear explains,

“I was inspired by this expression, and the snapping, rhythmic theme of this piece seemed to go with those words.” 

“Congotay” is an exceptional fusion of calypso, classical, and rock improvisation, and it premiered in Toronto in the winter of 2019 with Goodyear’s rock quintet, as part of the 21C Music Festival.

Check out “Congotay” below and find out more about Goodyear via our Five Questions With segment.

Care to introduce yourself to our readers?

My name is Stewart Goodyear, pianist and composer and Toronto native. I come from a very eclectic musical background, and my childhood soundtrack growing up was not only classical music, but 1970s rock, rhythm and blues, and calypso. 

Tell us a bit about your music and writing style.

My background is half Trinidadian and half British, and my music pays tribute to both halves of me! I have been told that my harmonies are as spicy and creamy as a nice bowl of callaloo, which I take as a beautiful compliment!

How have you been keeping creative during the pandemic?

I have been keeping myself very busy…Every day I am either learning something new on the piano or composing something new on paper. Being on lockdown, quarantine, or social distancing has been challenging, but it has allowed me to search within and to write music that is deeply personal and intimate. 

If you were asked to suggest only one of your songs for someone to hear, which would it be? 

A great start would be my new single, “Congotay”, which is a fusion of classical, jazz, and rock. This work was originally the second movement to a suite I wrote for piano and orchestra, entitled, incidentally, “Callaloo”. It was such a pleasure to record this single in this rock/jazz version, where one hears a combination of piano, bass, electric guitar, steel pan, and drums.

Canadian Beats is all about Canadian music, so who are your current favourite Canadian bands/ artists? 

I am loving the music that is being made by Robi Botos, Shawn Mendes, and Snotty Nose Rez Kids.

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