Kayode Olajide fondly known as KAY is a Nigeria-born music composer,arranger,producer and multi-instrumentalist who at the on-set established a unique and fresh fusion between authentic deep rooted African rhythms (extracted from his Yoruba music culture) and western forms,majorly jazz.The result is a powerful sound showcasing African polyrhythms and strong,lovely melodies.
His deep,intense,calm but lively personality often reflects in his compositions.Kay was raised in a culture (Yoruba,Nigeria) where traditional drums are a part of daily live and heard everywhere,all occasions.He grew into an effective school forum percussionist,then into a college jazz band trap drummer.He then learnt to play the flute and saxophones,influenced at that time by the likes of Hubert Laws,Dave Valentine,Grover Washington jnr.,and later by the music of Sonny Rollins,John Coltrane,Ben Webster,Randy Weston,Miles,Yusef Lateef and Charlie Parker.His strongest motivation would however come from the drums and rhythms of Africa as showcased by traditional African musicians.Kay's musical focus was helped when he met the legendary be-bop tenor sax player,James Moody on a Dizzy Gillespie tour of Nigeria in the early 90's
He played with leading bands in his country from 1985 to 1992 and toured Europe until he founded The Weavers band in 1993.A band well known for it's originality,focus,artistic sincerity and quality.
In 1998,his debut album 'Once Upon A time' was released (Jazzhole Label) to a welcoming African audience.The album was widely reviewed and critically acclaimed by Nigerian and African press.BBC Network Africa Service accorded the album lots of airplay and personal interviews in recognition of creative accomplishments.
'IBA' his second album further establish his creativity,originality and his highly disciplined,exiting sound.The music draws largely from his African cultural background,fresh and contemporary with proven international appeal,blended in a seamless fashion with jazz forms.This album takes off with "Towards The Sublime" introduced by his alto sax and percussions (reminding you of Pharoah Sanders or Coltrane),then ushering in a spiritual motiff and groove over which kayode improvises freely and profusely.The groove breaks into an African vocal/percussion section and finished off by piano and sax improvisations."Eastbound" is in the realm of Joe Zawinul's Weather Report with catchy melodies and tight arrangement.The sharp conga intro and the hip-hop-like beat on "My Favorite Things" completely re-directs this popular piece,very original."Iba" the title track is an intense,melody-filled,awesome piece.Showcasing web-like arrangement of intrumentation,vocals/chants and traditional drumming.This track highlights the reverential awe with which most African communities approach their Creator,God. "Shepherd Song" and "Alaro Meta" are highly upbeat tracks with strong melodies accompanied by heavy African style drumming,led by the 'gangan'drum (a drum with established melo-rhythmic capabilities). The album closes with "James",a tightly arranged body and soul stirring dance-floor track featuring a unique and virtuoso djembe solo as well as Kayode's personalized style of weaving saxophone into African grooves.
Kay's music pioneered and set the pace for what can be called 'Nigerian Jazz' being the most dorminant act in it's genre. "IBA is a classic album reinvigorating jazz with it's African perspective,virtuoso playing,and some great compositions"...(Straight No Chaser,UK). Kayode performed with his band within and outside Africa including festivals in Normandy,France and Jordan,Middle East.
This music would seem to have provided a matching West African flavor to jazz from Africa,and he believes "The beauty of a people is rooted in their striving to fully utilize cultural elements within their sub-region as basis for their expression,especially in artforms"