Playtime with Helena Kay

Helena Kay

Helena Kay will perform at the Outhouse in Edinburgh on Thursday 1 June.

Although still in her twenties, Kay has been impressing knowledgeable jazz observers for close on ten years now. Richard Michael, the indefatigable director of Fife Youth Jazz Orchestra was always keen to feature Kay as a teenage soloist. Then, in the final of the Young Scottish Jazz Musician of the Year in 2015, the judges, including one of Scotland’s greatest ever jazz musicians, the late saxophonist Bobby Wellins, selected Kay as the winner.

Perth-born Kay went on to win the much-coveted Peter Whittingham Jazz Award in 2017. Having graduated from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London the previous year, Kay used the cash prize from the Whittingham Award to finance the recording of the KIM Trio’s first album, Moon Palace.

A period spent living, working and studying in New York followed. Kay took advantage of having access to top players, including Chilean saxophone star Melissa Aldana, Dayna Stephens, Chris Cheek and Rodney Green to take lessons with them.

Now back living in Scotland, Kay has become established as a member of the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra’s saxophone section and she continues to work with the KIM Trio, and in duos with pianist Peter Johnstone. This concert is sure to give further evidence of a mature talent with an individual voice.

Helena Kay is a tenor saxophonist and composer based in London. Originally from Perth, Scotland, she moved to London in 2012 to study at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, graduating in 2016 with a First Class Degree in BMus Jazz (Hons). During her time studying, she was awarded the Young Scottish Jazz Musician of the Year Award (2015). In 2021, she was selected to become a City Music Foundation Artist.


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