In hindsight, Ollie Bomann was always meant to sit in Stello's bass chair. Ollie spent his formative years in two places not often known for their musicality.
Born and raised in Fairfield, Connecticut, he and his family shuttled off to New Zealand for his early teens. It was in this latter locale - amongst the mellow Kiwis and rural sheep farmers - where Ollie discovered his true calling: jazz bass.
"New Zealand isn't exactly famous for its jazz tradition," Ollie says, "But that's where I fell in love with it."
In truth, Ollie didn't have to move across the planet to find the true inspiration for his music: his father. An emergency physician and former songwriter, the elder Bomann often quizzed young Ollie on the classics. "What band is this?" Ollie recounts from his youth, acting in the gruff voice of his father.
"Ah, Led Zeppelin."
"And who is on lead guitar?"
But if his father found satisfaction in stories from the past, Ollie prefers the allure of the now. "I remember seeing my friend’s band Sky Canvas, and then walking out in tears. That's how much I felt it."
"When I came to NYU, I was moving back from New Zealand so I really didn't have much of a network. I called up my old friend Kit Conway from childhood, who was a couple years ahead of me at NYU." Ollie and Kit reconnected personally at that time, but it wasn't until a couple months later that Kit saw Ollie on stage, playing with their friends' band Rabbit's Foot (of which bandmate Will Corona is also an alum).
"Kit loved the stuff I was doing and we talked after and said, 'Hey, do you want to be my bass player?' I said absolutely."
When asked about Stello, Ollie gets giddy. To him, it's all about the live experience. "What fires me up about Stello is when I see people dancing in the crowd. What inspired me to pursue music as a career is the feeling I had when I saw my friends' band play in New Zealand. Ever since then, all I've wanted to do in music is... make sure I have that effect on people when I play music."
Now a card-carrying member of the New York City music scene and a senior in New York University's Steinhardt Jazz Studies program, Ollie finds respite in his music from the loneliness that can often plague an overpopulated city. He can often be found honing his sound on stage at 55 Bar in the West Village, a hopping little jazz dive known for serving up the best jazz talent in the city.