A professional pianist since the age of 13, Wil is recognised as one of the finest players to emerge from the New Zealand music scene in some time. In 1994, aged 13, Wil became the youngest solo performer to ever play at NZ’s National Jazz Festival in Tauranga. In the years since, Wil has played at almost every major jazz and blues festival in New Zealand.
In 1997 Wil was selected for the NZ High Schools Jazz Orchestra, made up of high school musicians from around the country and led by renowned L.A. session pianist and arranger Matt Harris.
In 1998 Wil released his first solo piano album titled “Steppin’ Out”, which receivedgreat praise in reviews. NZ Musician Magazine called it “an inspired and excellent release.” Real Groove magazine said: “that he’s a 17-year-old from Napier and radiates the 88’s with such aplomb is not just a surprise but scary.” Australian Rhythms magazine said: “This is a young performer with chops and style to spare. He should do big things in the future.” Wil’s debut CD was nominated for a NZ Music Award in 1999and reached the final three in the Jazz Album Of The Year category, making him the youngest Kiwi to ever be nominated for this award.
Wil’s international festival performances include: Noosa Jazz Festival, Manly Jazz Festival, Newcastle Jazz Festival, Kangaroo Point Jazz Festival (as a special guest with James Morrison.) Also Wil is the only New Zealander to ever perform at the prestigious “Piano Night” concert at Tipitina’s in New Orleans. This annual concert is part of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and regularly features such New Orleans music legends as Harry Connick Jr, Dr. John, The Neville Brothers, Jon Cleary and Allen Toussaint. Wil’s “Piano Night” performance at The Parish (House Of Blues) in 2007 received a standing ovation.
In 2005 Wil was selected as pianist/musical director for Irish folk/blues singer Mary Coughlan’s tour of Australia & NZ. Following a sold-out show at The Basement in Sydney, the Sydney Morning Herald described Wil’s solo piano featureas “formidable.”
Other notable musicians Wil has performed with include Lillian Boutte (New Orleans’ official “Ambassador of Jazz”), Joe Krown (pianist for blues legend Gatemouth Brown), Conal Fowlkes (pianist for Woody Allen’s jazz band), Tom McDermott (pianist for Pete Fountain), Efrem Towns of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Jon Cleary’s band ‘The Absolute Monster Gentlemen’ and New Orleans pianist/singer Marcia Ball.
Wil has fulfilled contracts aboard 11 cruise ships around the world, taking him to the shores of over 40 countries. Companies he has worked for include Carnival Cruise Lines, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and Princess Cruise Lines.
Since 2009 Wil has been a regular member of the well-known Australian jazz band Galapagos Duck.
Other bands he performs with include the Hanlon Brothers, Greg Lyon & The Hip Operation, and Aaron West & The Custodians.
Concert from 8:00pm - 10:00pm
Open Jam Sessions from 6:00pm – 7:30pm & 10:30pm – late
Bookings available – please call JMI on (07) 3216 1110
(Credit card payment required for bookings)