Moving into Pianoland!

I’m coming off the road for the longest time in a while and moving seriously and with great intent into a space I call PIANOLAND.

This is my precious private time when my grand piano and I spend all day (and sometimes all night) together discovering each other again. It’s like a new and intense relationship, but with someone you’ve known all your life.

The end result is to produce 12 solo piano tracks for a prestigious film soundtrack company in Sydney, who are generously commissioning me to compose and record this body of piano music. I’m anticipating the project to take me from the concert stage for at least a few months, and I’m very ready for this next phase of prioritising and exercising my creative musical brain. (The motor, visual and auditory cortices all at once evidently!)

This is where I shall be through the winter months until, in spring, I will put on my boogie boots and bling again, a piano-playing chrysalis emerging into the stagelights.

I’ve never been chosen for such a large project before, and I’m rather in trepidation that I’ll be up to the job. 

Wish me luck friends!

The Biggest Boogie!

What a wonderful time we had at the National Folk Festival over Easter! It really is a fabulous event, and huge thanks to Festival Director Graham MacDonald for giving us this opportunity and such a prominent billing amongst over 200 artists. 

Our Saturday concert to over 1000 people on the Budawang Stage will remain a highlight of my career. A wonderful audience, excellent sound and lights, and a band that boogied due to Craig Renneberg on acoustic bass and Mike Pullman on drums, plus our special guest Carolyn “Pine Cone” Packer joining me on the piano for a 4 hander. The roof came off at that point for sure!

Yet to have such a large crowd listening in silence to my composition for the soundtrack of my sister Gaylene Preston’s film “Home By Christmas” was also magical.

Thank you to all who came to our 3 shows and also voted us into the final of the Elton John Song Competition. Our version of Crocodile Rock did exactly that….it rocked! We were terribly disappointed to not be able to perform in the final due to a programming clash with my Piano Boogie Workshop.

Still, I did so love being Elton Jan for a moment!

Back to the South Island

Huge thanks to all who came along to our show at the Leichhardt Bowling Club last Saturday.

Such a large and buzzy audience really got us going!
Mike and I absolutely loved playing with Franz Batmilk on double bass (what a performer) and the hugely talented fiddle player George Washingmachine.
It went off, as they say.

People have also been asking me when we’re going back to NZ and the answer is very soon!
From February 23rd, we’re playing 12 shows in the South Island.

We start in Mapua, then on to Granity and Christchurch, followed by Timaru, Akaroa, Darfield, Greymouth, Ashburton, Rangiora, Picton and finally Nelson.

Mike and I are excited to be joined by the fabulous singer and double bassist Dave Coleclough.

My Kiwi accent could do with some reinforcement!

Jan’s Showcase Concerts

After a long and blissful time at home in Sydney, Mike and I are looking forward to getting on the road to play 7 concerts in NZ; Auckland, Dargaville, Whangarei, Bay of Islands Jazz/Blues Festival, Takapuna and finally Wellington. 

These concerts will contain my favourite songs and instrumentals in a “Showcase” performance. 

Over the past 2 years with lockdowns and cancellations due to covid and border closures, I’ve had time to write new music, but also to reflect on my repertoire, rework some material, and bring out songs and instrumentals I haven’t performed in years. With the perspective of time and distance I have been able to hear my music anew, and I’m excited to be expanding my singing and playing!

Jump Music, Jive Talk and a Grand Piano

I am working on a special collaborative show with actor/writer/comedian ALAN GLOVER called JUMP MUSIC and JIVE TALK. Alan is a master wordsmith, hilarious comedian, who also sings and blows a mean harmonica. We are feverously rehearsing, too many ideas springing forth, (it’s like that hanging out with Alan) discovering elements of piano music, poetry, blues, comedy and some film music.

Keep warm guys, c u soon!


Benefit for Ukraine

On Sunday 5th June, we held a special event in Sydney – a Benefit Concert event for Ukraine.

We put on a show as a fund-raiser, with many local businesses making generous donations of their goods and services for auction.  Mic Conway did his exceptional best as Compere Extraordinaire, as well as performing his Captain Matchbox Whoopee Band 1974 hit “Wangaratta Wahine” with the band!

We raised $3700 which has gone to CARE Australia’s UKRAINE HUMANITARIAN CRISIS APPEAL, so huge thanks to everyone who came along to the North Annandale Hotel on Sunday! There was an amazing buzz in the room, made special by the performance of 5 Ukrainian musicians, 2 of whom are recent refugees.



The BBC needs me!

All suspicious looking emails are not scams! I received one recently from a guy claiming to be an entertainment producer at the BBC wanting to use my piano composition “Trout Blues” as title music for his new BBC London Evening radio show. I was so close to pressing delete, but something made me read on. Fortunately. 

My piano piece has proven so popular with their audience (over 1 million nightly) they are interviewing me next week. If you are able through the internet, please tune in to presenter Jo Good on BBC RADIO LONDON Evenings on 94.9 FM this Wednesday morning April 26th at 8am Sydney time. After our chat, Jo will play my song “The Boogie Woman.” 

So you might be wondering why I named the track “Trout Blues”? Actually it’s a family in-joke with a long backstory, the end result being my older brother Ted only ever refers to me as “Troutie”. (Something about having a mouth like a fish, yeah well that’s families for you…) And BBC producer George Burton wants me to compose more music for a couple of other programs he’s launching.

I was telling sister Gaylene about this extraordinary event exclaiming “Out of all the thousands of composers in the world! This sort of thing NEVER happens in Arts and Entertainment, to which she replied “Well Jan it just did.” 

Still it’s pretty amazing don’t you think?!

Victoria Calling….

We are so looking forward to travelling down to Victoria at last, renewing my contact with the MBAS (Melbourne Blues Appreciation Society) and the wonderful Phil Manning.

Phil is not only one of my absolute favourite players and songwriters, but also a good mate. There’s a little known fact (as he keeps reminding me) that he studied classical piano in his youth in Tasmania, but of course he is better known as the founder member of Australia’s iconic blues band “Chain.” 

The MBAS has invited Phil and me to headline a day long festival on Sunday May 1st and Phil and I are intending to play more concerts together this year, so watch this space.

Over that weekend we’re also playing 2 other shows and these are unique venues we haven’t visited before. The first is on an island believe it or not, and the 2nd in the concert room of a gallery specialising in archival Indian architecture. 


We will stoke up the fires of boogie and blues down South once more : hope to see you there!

All the best,


The Longest Grand Piano in the World!

We’re continuing on this amazing South Island tour and in Dunedin I was thrilled to go to the Alexander Pianos Workshop which houses the longest grand piano in the world. Utterly extraordinary that Adrian Mann started making this instrument when he was 16 years old, and completed it in four and a half years.

A full size grand piano is 9 feet, but this one is twice as long, at 18 feet. It’s an incredible feat to have made it, no-one else in the world has done it, and I was so lucky the workshop was open as we were passing through Dunedin.

Here’s clip of me playing it –  and if you want to see a short interview with Adrian as well ,go to here.

Our shows this week are over the mountains to Te Anau, Invercargill, Tarras and Kinross Winery in the Gibbston Valley, then next week we finally arrive in my beloved West Coast for shows in Okarito, Greymouth,and  Hokitika, then 2 shows in Christchurch. Full show details are on my

With numbers restrictions easing even further, I heartily invite you to come along and laugh, cry, clap, sing (but alas no dancing) as I take you on my musical journey.

Finding a Piano…..

So here we are having played one week of our South Island Tour. Huge thanks to the kind and hearty people of Motueka, Picton, Nelson and Murchison for being such amazing audiences. All those things that are said of South Islanders (friendly generous stoic etc) really are true.

And I found a piano!

On the one main street of Reefton (population 927) I found a real working piano. Paula who has the Reefton Art Gallery brings it out every day onto the footpath outside.

So of course I played it, and here is proof in the form of a Youtube clip. Check it out, almost all the keys make a sound!

We’re playing tonight here in Reefton, tomorrow the beautiful French-settled town of Akaroa, then Timaru, Dunedin and Kakanui.  Next week we move even further South to Te Anau, Invercargill, Tarras and Gibbston, before shooting back up to the beloved West Coast and Christchurch the week after.