pianist * composer * recording artist

“Stiles is an eclectic pianist (blues, boogie-woogie, even freebop are audible) with a dry, slightly bent sense of humour. Stiles’ drollery leads her naturally to Monk. On the very first track, she somehow amalgamates ‘Brilliant Corners’ and ‘Thelonious’ into ‘The Jeep is Jumping.’ With Stiles and Monk, wit and beauty are not mutually exclusive.”

Thomas Conrad, JazzTimes

“I love Joan Stiles’ Hurly-Burly. A lot. Stiles is not only the best female jazz musicians since Joanne Brackeen and Jessica Williams but also a fresh wit rare in jazz at any time. On Rowles’ “The Peacocks,” you’re in a region of purity and beauty most jazz musicians couldn’t find, much less inhabit so easily for five minutes. It’s her 2nd disc and proves conclusively, that she’s a jazz treasure.”

--Jeff Simon,

The Buffalo News

DOWNBEAT **** 4-stars

“A single listen to Hurly-Burly reveals that pianist Joan Stiles possesses the chops, craft, imagination wit and sophistication to be mentioned in a conversation with the most distinguished descendants of Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk and Mary Lou Williams. Composed of her own arrangements of tunes by the afore-mentioned, as well as by Fats Waller, Ray Charles, Jimmy Rowles and her own originals, the album has the sound of a unified, well-paced suite. Stiles convenes a unit of virtuosos with a point of view. She deploys them in duo, trio, quartet, quintet and sextet, and gives them a kaleidoscopic array of moods and tempos with which to work, allowing solos to emerge organically from the ensemble flow.

Stiles swings and has a formidable left hand, a penchant for intelligent reharmonizations and harmonic juxtaposition, and a knack  for setting up deep grooves, working hand-in-glove with Peter Washington and Lewis Nash toward the latter aspiration. Joel Frahm, Jeremy Pelt and Steve Wilson tell their stories pithily and within the function. This is highbrow stuff, executed with a light touch and impeccable taste.”

    -- Ted Panken, Downbeat

“Bet you never thought that Monk’s ‘Brilliant Corners’ and Duke’s ‘The Jeep is Jumpin’ could ever be successfully combined. Wait until you hear it. It’s quite amazing...Along with this you’ll find the swinging piano and fresh arranging of Stiles. This is a very enjoyable deep in the shed jazz album. 5 stars *****

--George Fendel, Jazz Socity of Oregon’s JazzScene Newsletter

“Each track is its own small event immaculately prepared by Stiles and masterfully played by all--jazz playing of a very high order. Stiles writes and plays brilliantly with great respect for melody and clarity.  She is an authentic original who also happens to have great taste.”

--Dave Frishberg

“Adventure, daring, exuberance and wit complement the sense of history coursing through her music. Stiles’ spiritual kinship with piano heroes from Fats Waller to Jimmy Rowles is evident throughout as she weaves into her modern piano style the blues, swing, stride and boogie that still inspire her. I can’t think of a new recording in years that has given me more enjoyment.”

--Doug Ramsey

Joan Stiles shines throughout her second CD as a leader. The pianist recruited a first-rate band and then treated them to her inspiring arrangements and originals. Stiles salutes Mary Lou Williams with her inventive original composition, “Hurly-Burly,” a challenging bop vehicle that is worthy of comparison to the late Williams’ work. She also revisits Williams’ unjustly obscure, “Knowledge” along with a side-splitting vocal of the late pianist’s “In the Land of Oo-Bla-Dee.” Highly recommended!

--Ken Dryden,, All Music Guide

“Swings with wit and verve, brimming with the joyous flair of a Wynton Kelly or Erroll Garner...hauntingly beautiful arrangements.”

--Bill Milkowski 

New York City pianist and composer, Joan Stiles mixes a deep knowledge of the jazz tradition with an ear for fresh sounds, giving her music a welcome authenticity that has contemporary heft.

--Zan Stewart, The NJ Star Ledger

The NY pianist mixes a wicked sense of humor with exemplary taste and a smoking horn section. It opens with a wonderful collage of Monk and Johnny Hodges and ends with a weird and wonderful vocal version of “In the Land of Oo-Bla-Dee.” Pianist, Joan Stiles comes up with one of  this year’s finest releases. This one’s a must. 10 out of 10.

--Len Dobbin, The Montreal Mirror

One of the most enjoyable recordings to come along so far this year. Joan Stiles shows herself to be a remarkable arranger and bandleader, as well as one of the best and most interesting jazz pianists within the genre today.”

--Brad Walseth,

“‘The Brilliant Corners of Thelonious’ Jumpin’ Jeep’ is certainly the niftiest bit of arranging offered this year. On the 2nd pivotal vocal selection, the bop classic ‘In the Land of Oo-Bla-Dee,’ Stiles turns this nonsensical bebop vocal exercise into a delicious, sexually ambiguous romp.”

--C. Michael Bailey, All About Jazz

“Stiles is a skilled musical architect, dedicated to the craft of balance and dynamics, of blend and boldness and being the boss in the best possible sense. She is more than just a graceful interpreter of Mary Lou, Duke and Monk; he playing illuminated the masterpieces she made her own.”

--Michael Hochandel, The Daily Gazette  (Schnectady)

“Stiles’ solo piano artfully interprets a clever arrangement of ‘Take the A Train’ and perfectly portrays the full range of emotions inherent in Strayhorn’s ‘Blood Count.’ Her song selection serves as a wonderful introduction to both expressive touch evinces the influences of Monk, Duke and Erroll Garner and wide-ranging arranging abilities...With her sincere musicianship and arranging savvy, Joan Stiles is a breath of fresh air.”

--Elliot Simon, All About Jazz, NY

The pianist, composer and teacher, Joan Stiles runs one of the hippest sextets in New York. Her circle of insider admirers encompasses many of the best-known musicians in jazz today and is widening to include a substantial number of listeners in the general audience. Stiles achieves identifiable individuality in her own compositions and in her arrangements of songbook standards and pieces by Mary Lou Williams, Thelonious Monk and Duke Ellington, among others.”

Doug Ramsey, Rifftides - Weekend Extra

““A fluent improvisor, as well as a composer of distinction, Stiles sits comfortably in the piano lineage that includes Cole, Powell, Jones and Flanagan. All those talents are apparent on Hurly-Burly, a terrific CD.

--Paul Blair, Hot House

“Pianist Joan Stiles brings new ears to old tunes, and she offers originals that honor the past without solemnizing it. The smile begins with Stiles’ opening collage and continues to widen. She captures the pathos of ‘Round Midnight,’ plays ‘Jitterbug Walt’ as if she’d just got some tremendously good news and rejoices in the second line of the remade bop classic, “In the Land of Oo-Bla-Dee.”

--Mel Minter, New Mexico Alibi