\\ Jack Stephenson-Oliver (Vels Trio) reveals Piano Day track on Waella’s Choice label

Piano Day falls on the 88th day of the year. Whilst every day is piano day for the pianists we love to listen to, sometimes we need a reminder to appreciate them all over again.

London based label Waella’s Choice have curated Piano On Key, a varied compilation of original tracks by London pianists to celebrate Piano Day. Its curation enables us to get better acquainted with some of the city’s most prominent rising names—both soloists and band members. All tracks are previously unreleased, making it a fresh compilation with an identity of its own. Contributors include Danalogue (Soccer96/The Comet Is Coming), Charlie Stacey (Yussef Dates Trio) and Vels Trio’s Jack Stephenson-Oliver. 

To celebrate the release of Piano On Key, we check out Jack Stephenson-Oliver‘s track Celestial Greens, first heard on Tina Edwards’ Worldwide FM show.


\\ How do you approach solo composition in comparison to writing with Vels Trio?

Solo composition is a lot more personal because you only have to make compromises with yourself. With Vels we’ve become a pretty effective unit at writing, so even if someone brings the bulk of a tune in, by the time we’ve all added our spice it’s a very different track.  You can check out the Vels version of Celestial Greens on our next E.P to see what I mean.

\\ When you begin writing, where do your ideas stem from?

It’s always so different, sometimes a melody will just pop out of nowhere. With other songs you really gotta work and try out different ideas till you settle on one. Or if like me you can’t decide, just find a way of getting all the ideas in there. Then again sometimes it’s about the ideas you leave out.

\\ Tell us about some of your favourite piano players in the UK

I’m a big fan of Dominic J Marshall, though I believe he’s living in Holland at the mo. His albums Spirit Speech and The Triolithic are amazing. It’s a crime that more people don’t know about him.

Also I’m a big fan of Joe Armon-Jones and Elliot Galvin. When I saw that they’d both been asked to feature on this I felt honoured to be on the same record. I’ve been playing keys for 4 years—as much as I’ve practiced in that time I still feel like a baby in the game.

As for proper jazz (swing) vibes, Rick Simpson, Gareth Williams and Nikki Iles are all amazing. I’ll catch them playing live whenever I can.