ACCLAIMED BY THE FRENCH JAZZ ACADEMY IN 2016, PAUL LAY RECEIVED THE « DJANGO REINHARDT » PRIZE FOR THE BEST FRENCH JAZZ MUSICIAN OF THE YEAR.
HE WAS ALSO ELECTED BEST YOUNG FRENCH JAZZ TALENT OF THE YEAR BY A POLL OF CRITICS PRODUCED BY JAZZ MAGAZINE.
WITH MIKADO OPUS IN 2014, THE PAUL LAY QUARTET WON THE PRESTIGIOUS CHARLES CROS ACADEMY PRIZE FOR THE BEST INTERNATIONAL JAZZ ALBUM OF THE YEAR.
“Paul Lay is the most brilliant jazz pianist of his generation.
— Francis Marmande, Le Monde
“Excellent harmonic imagination , diverse playing, most interesting compositions, and obvious knowledge of jazz history as well as a personal voice : Paul Lay has got everything it takes to go right to the top and make a lasting career.
— Martial Solal
“Paul Lay’s style is a true joy for the listener.
— Michel Contat, Télérama
As a multi-facetted pianist whose original style has been nurtured over the last ten years by working with so many different musicians, Paul Lay ranks among France’s leading jazz musicians. After graduating from the CNSM (Paris Conservatory) in 2010, Paul released his first album, Unveiling, with Simon Tailleu and Elie Duris, to glowing reviews from the critics. Over the last ten years he has won a string of prestigious awards at national and international jazz piano competitions, namely the Concours de La Defense, the Moscow Competition, the Martial Solal Competition and the Montreux Competition.
Paul enjoys working with different musicians in original formats. For the Folles Journées de Nantes Festival in 2015, with the video-director Olivier Garouste, he created Billie Holiday, passionnément, a video-musical performance, which was subsequently invited to the Philharmonie in Paris, the Trident in Cherbourg, the Roque d’Anthéron Festival and the French May Festival à Hong Kong.
Paul also leads a successful career as a sideman, playing in the Riccardo Del Fra, Géraldine Laurent, Eric le Lann, and Ping Machine jazz ensembles. In 2017, he released two albums, The Party, with Dre Pallemaerts and Clemens Van Der Feen, and Alcazar Memories with Isabel Sorling and Simon Tailleu. Both are highly original trios whose success has led them to perform in more than 70 concert venues across the globe. Towards the end of 2018, Paul released another album, Thanks a Million, with Eric le Lann, which is a vibrant tribute to Louis Armstrong that was highly acclaimed by public and critics alike.
Regularly invited abroad, Paul has performed in New York, Toronto, Berlin and Warsaw. He has toured Germany, Russia, Peru, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, China and Japan. Paul also receives private and public patronage, which make him an ambassador for French jazz. It was in this capacity that he performed with Barbara Hendricks for International Jazz Day, and for the European Capital of Culture, Marseille, in 2013, The Bridge 2017 and for the 14-18 Centenary Mission.
Since 2015, he has been invited by The Centre Culturel de Rencontres des Dominicains de Haute- Alsace as musician-in-residence, and in 2018, patronage from the BNP Parisbas Foundation helped him further develop his career. These different types of patronage have enabled him to perform in numerous venues. They have provided him with the necessary funding to explore his ideas so that he could make his mark as a high-profile jazz musician who has made a difference.
Over the last ten years working with the Laborie Jazz record label, he has released four albums ‒ Unveiling in 2010, Mikado in 2014, and The Party and Alcazar Memories in 2017.
Deep Rivers, his fifth album, is released in 2020 and is anticipated as one of the year’s highlights.