Roots & Influences: Joy Ellis

Roots and Influences invites our favourite artists, local and afar, to curate a playlist of 10 songs that have inspired their career to date. Ahead of their show this Thursday at Liverpool's Capstone Theatre, we sit down with the captivating Joy Ellis Trio.

London-based jazz pianist, singer and composer Joy Ellis will take to the stage as part of The Capstone Theatre's Autumn/Winter programme. Following the release of her third album 'Peaceful Place' earlier this year, Joy will be joined by long-time collaborators Henrik Jensen on double bass and drummer Adam Osmianski. Boasting a minimalistic sound which reflects the album's title, we find out more about the influences behind the record and Joy's career so far...



Debussy - La Cathédrale Engloutie 

This was one of the first pieces by Debussy that I ever learnt on the piano and I absolutely love its haunting melody and lush chords.


Bobo Stenson - My Man’s Gone Now

The minimalism and starkness of pianist Bobo Stenson’s interpretation of the beautiful standard ‘My Man’s Gone Now’ is such a great example of saying so much with only a few notes.


Bill Evans - O Danny Boy

I absolutely love the album ‘Time Remembered’ by Bill Evans and in particular, his fantastic version of the tune ‘O Danny Boy’. He seems to be completely lost in enjoying exploring the melody around different key centres - at one point he almost seems to finish, and then starts again as if he doesn’t want the song to end.


Esperanza Spalding - I Know You Know

When I first heard this track, I felt it gave me the confidence and permission I needed to fuse jazz with popular sounds and helped inspire my own first two albums.


Joni Mitchell - Both Sides Now

As a songwriter and poet I just love Joni Mitchell’s way of weaving stories. She recorded the song ‘Both Sides Now’ twice in her career - once as a young woman and later as a much older woman. It’s fascinating to hear the story of her life and how it unfolded through these two very different renditions.


George Gershwin - 3 Preludes for Piano

I’ve been a big George Gershwin fan since I was young. I loved learning this piece and how Gershwin is able to fuse jazz and classical ideas in his music.


Nina Simone - I Loves You Porgy

Nina Simone’s interpretation of the Duke Ellington tune ‘I Loves You Porgy’ from the musical ‘Porgy and Bess’ is so moving - I love the emotion she injects into her music to make it her own.


E.S.T - Seven Days of Falling

I first heard this song when I was at university. It has such a strong melody and the way the band improvises together to develop it is really enjoyable - they are really able to remain subtle whilst still building tension.


Brad Mehldau - Now You Must Climb Alone 

This track from Brad Mehldau’s ‘Highway Rider’ album perfectly captures the sentiments behind its title. Its darkly beautiful chords tell a really poignant story.


Marcin Wasilewski - Diamonds and Pearls

Marcin Wasilewski trio’s treatment of the Prince song ‘Diamonds and Pearls’ on their album ‘January’ is so contemplative yet innovative. I was listening to this a lot when I wrote ‘Peaceful Place’, observing how the pianist leaves so much space in the music.


Join Joy Ellis Trio this Thursday at The Capstone Theatre buy grabbing your ticket here. In the meantime, listen to Joy's latest album 'Peaceful Place' below: