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Kevin Hays is internationally recognized as one of the premier jazz pianists of his generation. Many of his 15 recordings as leader have received critical acclaim from publications such as The New York Times, Downbeat Magazine and JazzTimes, as well as a “Coup de Coeur” from the Académie Charles Cros (France). A prolific sideman appearing on over 60 records, Kevin’s long list of notable musical associations include such figures as John Scofield, Chris Potter, Joshua Redman, Nicholas Payton, Al Foster and many others.
In 2017 Hays joined the Steve Gadd Band, along with famed guitarist Michael Landau, Walt Fowler (trumpet), Jimmy Johnson (electric bass) and the legendary drummer himself. They promptly won a GRAMMY Award in 2019 for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album.
2011’s Modern Music (Nonesuch), a piano duo collaboration with Brad Mehldau and composer Patrick Zimmerli, garnered widespread critical acclaim. The duo premiered several works at Carnegie Hall, and has toured throughout the US, Europe, and South America. The solo Variations (Pirouet, 2011), was released to excellent reviews throughout North America and Europe. The record features three sets of improvised variations on several original themes, along with exquisite variations on a fugue by Robert Schumann.
The New Day Trio, along with bassist Rob Jost (Bjork, Tony Scherr) and drummer Greg Joseph (Steve Kuhn, Art Garfunkel), marks Kevin’s return to the acoustic piano trio format. Developing over a 2-year residency at New York’s 55 Bar, plus tours of the US and Europe, the trio emphasizes lyricism with a musical scope bridging Hays’s love of jazz, classical, blues, soul, folk and rock music. The trio’s debut album, 2015’s New Day
(Sunnyside) was produced by Matt Pierson (Brad Mehldau, Joshua Redman, Mark Turner), featuring special guests Gregoire Maret (harmonica) and Tony Scherr (guitar). Their follow up release, 2016’s North
(Sunnyside), explores themes of history, beauty, and hope.
Hays is featured (piano AND vocals) on a new 2019 album from Italian singer Chiara Izzi, collaborating with Chris Potter, Gregoire Maret, Nir Felder and others. And an upcoming September release on Edition Records called Hope will highlight the beauty of Kevin’s duets with Beninese guitarist Lionel Loueke (Herbie Hancock).
“Kevin Hays is a true original. Everything he plays has a deep intelligence and swing.”
— Brad Mehldau”I’ve never met a musician who is as perfect in their approach to improvisation.”
— Nicholas Payton”He’s all encompassing. Phenomenally so!” — John Scofield
“A jolt of joy!” — The New York Times
“… few have Hays’s melodic charms and sense of style.” — The New Yorker
“From the first notes he played I knew that here was a musician!” — Bob Belden