Acclaimed by the French Jazz Acadamy 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: a young man on his way up? Without any doubt!
A lot of young musicians, after they seduced us, rapidly ceased to be on their way up. I bet it won’t be the case with Paul Lay. One can say he has assets to “rise up” and stay there: a fantastic harmonic imagination, a much diversified way of playing, the most interesting compositions, a real knowledge of jazz history, a personal view. A real gamble without risks…”
Paul Lay graduated from the Paris Conservatory (CNSM) where he studied at the Jazz and Improvised Music Department with Hervé Sellin, François Théberge, Glenn Ferris, Dre Pallemearts and Riccardo del Fra.
He has won numerous prizes both in national and international competitions (soloist prize at the National Jazz Competition of La Defense, laureate of the International Piano Jazz Competition of Moscow, Martial Solal International Piano Jazz Competition, Montreux International Piano Jazz Competition). He also is a laureate of both the Meyer Foundation and the Mécénat Musical Société Générale.
Invited to perform at the most prestigious venues in France and abroad, Paul Lay has played both as a soloist and leader of various ensembles including the Paul Lay Trio with Dré Pallemaerts and Clemens Ven der Feen and Alcazar Memories with Isabel Sörling, vocals and Simon Tailleu, bass.
Recent performances include the Mikado Quartet performing at the Duc des Lombards, Sunside, Jazz à la Villette Festival and the North Sea Jazz Festival in Rotterdam as well as at the Radio France Montpellier Festival and the festivals of Annecy, Biarritz , Cologne , Midsummer Hardelot Festival, Festival de l’Empéri and Piano aux Jacobins in Toulouse.
Paul also plays as sideman with the Geraldine Laurent Quartet, Eric Le Lann Quartet, Riccardo Del Fra Quintet, Ping Machine, Shauli Einav Quintet. Plus he accompanied Barbara Hendricks for a medley of Spirituals and gospels on the International Day of Jazz at UNESCO.
Regularly invited abroad, Paul Lay has played in various venues and for organizations in New York, Toronto and at the French Institute in Berlin. Paul Lay has also toured Russia and Central America (Peru, Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago and the Dominican Republic).