Helena Kay started playing alto saxophone when she was 11 years old and was introduced to jazz when her first saxophone teacher gave her a Charlie Parker CD. She grew up in Perth, Scotland and moved to London in 2012 to begin studying at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where she received tuition from Martin Speake, Gareth Lockrane, Malcolm Edmonstone, Martin Hathaway and Christian Forshaw. She graduated in 2016 with a First Class in BMus Jazz (Hons) and was also awarded the Anjool Malde Jazz Prize for the highest jazz final recital mark that year. In 2015 she won the Young Scottish Jazz Musician of the Year Competition on tenor saxophone; an instrument-switch inspired by her love of Sonny Rollins’s playing in particular.
Helena is now a Guildhall Artist Fellow for the jazz department at the Guildhall School, while maintaining a freelance career as a performer and teacher. She performed with her trio at the Glasgow Jazz Festival 2016 and at the London Jazz Festival in November 2016 with her band KIM Trio (with David Ingamells and Misha Mullov-Abbado). Helena has also played with musicians such as Barry Green, Byron Wallen, Calum Gourlay, Ryan Quigley, Hamish Stuart.