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 in BMus Jazz (Hons).Read More
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.
Helena released her debut album Moon Palace in 2017 after winning the Peter Whittingham Jazz Award the same year. Helena recorded the album with her band Helena Kay’s KIM trio, released on Ubuntu Music in December 2018. The album features David Ingamells on drums and Ferg Ireland on double bass.
Helena draws influence from different places which are important to her: Scotland, London, and New York, each of which have been her home during her career. While in New York, Helena had lessons with some of the greats of the contemporary jazz scene – Dayna Stephens, Melissa Aldana, Chris Cheek and Rodney Green.
Helena also plays with various groups such as Calum Gourlay Quartet, Issie Barratt’s Interchange Dectet, EuroRadio Jazz Orchestra 2017 and the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra, and has performed at numerous festivals such as London Jazz Festival, Glasgow Jazz Festival, as well as venues including as Ronnie Scott’s, The Royal Albert Hall and The Vortex.
“Moon Palace leaves the listener wanting more of Kay’s rich playing… it’s remarkably self-assured and forecasts an imaginative career to come.’ Ammar Kalia, Downbeat
‘Kay and her trio confirmed both their understated group virtuosity and command of narrative drive.’ Mike Hobart, Financial Times