Derek Stoll started piano lessons at age seven, but when his uncle gave him a guitar at age 10 he took a different approach to the instrument. He found himself working out the bass lines to the tunes of that era. When he signed up for school band in grade seven he was asked what instrument he wanted to play he pointed to the biggest one he could see and said "that one!" So his ears were definitely aimed down into the lowest frequencies of the music. In high school he picked up electric bass, and was soon offered work in local dance bands playing tuba and bass.
He maintained his piano playing and worked up to grade ten, but found steady employment playing bass and tuba in local (Calgary) jazz, dance and dixieland bands.
After obtaining his bachelor degree in composition at U of C, he toured with show bands for three years, playing keyboards, bass and brass instruments.
During this time he also did arrangements for the Calgary Stampede Grandstand show, and for the Canadian Brass. He was commissioned to compose a series of variations for trumpet virtuoso Jens Lindemann in the mid 1990s. He moved back to Calgary after stops in Vancouver, L.A. and Edmonton and became known as a jazz piano player, and also became a popular teacher of jazz piano. He has performed in numerous bands and with such masters as Bob Day, Ralf Buschmeyer, and Al Muirhead. He has been part of back-up bands for numerous world-class performers and has performed with the Calgary Philharmonic as keyboardist. He is the first call pianist with the Prime Time Big Band.
He was the prime consultant for Conservatory Canada when they were developing their exam syllabus called "Contemporary Idioms", a jazz based exam system which parallels their classical syllabus.
When his former student and friend Angela Wrigley asked him if he would be interested in playing bass on her album he jumped at the chance. The project is the latest in Derek's contributions to encouraging musical development and creativity in Alberta.