“At the source of life, and only there, one finds peace,
harmony, and the undisturbed contentment of bliss"
- Deepak Chopra

Here is an attempted list of my more poignant influences, also some favorites, in quasi-chronological order:

Stan Kenton • Maynard Ferguson • Oscar Peterson • Wes Montgomery • Bill Evans • The Hi-Lo’s • The Singers Unlimited • Ella Fitzgerald • Nancy Wilson • Frank Sinatra • Tony Bennett • Ramsey Lewis • Brian Auger • Jimmy Smith • Quincy Jones • James Taylor • Joni Mitchell • Kenny Rankin • Micheal Franks • The Beach Boys • Ray Charles • Aretha Franklin • Stevie Wonder • Jethro Tull • The Who • Led Zepplin • REO Speedwagon • Boston • Kansas • Eric Clapton • BB King • Earth Wind & Fire • Rickie Lee Jones • Blood, Sweat & Tears • Rufus/Chaka Khan • Steeley Dan • Herbie Hancock • John Coltrane • Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter • Chick Corea • Return to Forever • John McGlaughlin • The Brecker Brothers • Pat Matheny/Lyle Mays • Keith Jarrett • Eberhard Weber/Various ECM Artists • Gino Vanelli • David Foster • Jay Graydon • Lee Ritneour • Toto • Chicago • Steve Gadd, Richard Tee • Anthony Jackson • Suzaane Vega • Bill Whelan/Riverdance • Enya • Brian Eno • Deep Forest • Adiemus • Julie Fowlis • The Weepies


Jay Oliver - Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Saturday, Oct 1, in Santa Cruz, CA

At the Unity Temple of Santa Cruz - 7:30pm


Hey from Jay:
Hey everyone. Jay Oliver here. You may be happy to know that I've (finally) come out from the laboratory, and have embraced my deepest expression as a solo artist. more >>

NEW - Inspirations Page - now up:
An extensive list of influences. more>>

Music surely carries power beyond that of what we can measure or quantify. In that light, it doesn't have to be sophisticated music.... more>>

A call to producers, investors and
media artists:
Project launch: A Live show that is rare,
refreshing, healing, and contageous. more >>



Coming Soon ...
For me, my source of life is music. Like it or not, music consumes me, every moment of every day. It just comes. Whether I’m walking through a forest, or driving in a car, or sitting at a cafe, or cooking dinner, music is forever present.

I am someone that has spent my life enjoying music from all sources, genres and cultures. As long as it was authentic, and spawned from a place of truth, I would listen and usually enjoy it.

My mother was a prolific vocal arranger and coach for a music style called “barbershop”. Both my parents were obsessive jazz lovers, specifically big band and vocal jazz. Musical > harmony was my first lanaguage - long before I learned to speak English.

Around the same time, I started learning to improvise, and my strongest influence at the time was Ramsey Lewis (“The In Crowd”), which planted a seed of gospel/blues in me that continues to be a major component in my playing today. Add to that a strong influence from “Brian Auger”, a blues organist and rhodes player. This guy was largely unknown, but there was a song called “Happiness is just around the bend” that mostly revolved around 2 chords back and forth. They were simple chords and provided a great foundation for learning to solo.

Over the next several years, the influences quickly became vast and diverse. One minute I was playing rock & roll, then country/western, then jazz, then blues, then american folk. I even took a gig as the house show pianist at 6 Flags over Mid-America, where I learned “show tunes” and began to develop a more ”broadway” style.

At one point, I used to think that all this influence was a curse, contributing to a stylistic confusion. Now I realize it was just the opposite. Having an understanding of these diverse styles played a significant role in expanding the depth of my style. Once I learned to incorporate each of them into a unified style, it all just clicked.