Jeff Kaye was born in the Bronx in 1951. At a young age, his family moved to the Washington DC area, shuffling back and forth between DC and the Bronx for thirteen years and finally settling in DC, which today is still Jeff’s hometown.
Jeff started playing piano at the age of 10. While in high school he played in a local rock and roll band, “The Immortals.” The band got a chance to perform at the Steel Pier where Jeff was able to see Gene Krupa play live in a venue adjacent to their performing area. This was his first exposure to jazz.
When he expressed an interest in jazz, his father took him to a local jazz venue in DC, “The Villa Rosa” to see Jimmy Smith. “I couldn’t believe what I was hearing and seeing” says Jeff, “Jimmy Smith’s playing was so smooth, yet so intense!” The next concert his father took him to was at “Constitution Hall” to see Cannonball Adderley and Wes Montgomery. After hearing both those giants (and Joe Zawinul), jazz was permanently in his blood.
n 1970 Jeff started attending the University of Maryland as a Piano Major. While attending college, one of Jeff’s close friends brought his attention to an artical in the Rolling Stone Magazine, about a guitar player named Roy Buchanan. The artical was, Entitled The Best Unknown Guitarist in the World. Jeff and his friend looked him up and found he was playing a bar in Waldorf MD called the Frontier Room. Jeff introduced himself to Roy and ended up going almost every weekend for the next two years. Being around Roy inspired Jeff tremendously, and taught him to take pride in who he is as a musician and a person.
In 1976, Jeff was a member of a 150 piece SGI Jazz band which included the talents of Herbie Hancock, Buster Williams, Larry Coryell and other great musicians that performed at Madison Square Garden. In the late 70’s and early 80’s, Jeff was a member of a group called “Dr. Goodfoote and the Toxic Sox”. They opened for such bands as Dr. John, NRBQ and Root Boy Slim.
In 1990 Jeff went back to NY to study with Joanne Brackeen for two years. He then studied locally for two years with Stanley Cowell. While Jeff was playing the DC Jazz scene with players such as Paul Carr, Ron Holloway and Art Cobb, he was also raising a family of three boys. Though at times it was a struggle, Jeff found it to be a truly rewarding and memorable time in his life.
In 1995 Jeff started a non-profit organization called Arts & Education in Concert (AEIC) to help youth stay drug free through their experiences in music. Reaching over 100,000 students he met and inspired many talented kids. One girl in particular, Abigail Kiser, spurred Jeff to start a “for” profit Indie Record Label called New Indie Artists, to help fund AEIC. Jeff‘s group “35 Days in May” is one of six artists that have comprised the artist roster.
Jeff’s music showcases his love of music and his influences, ranging
from the Headhunters, Weather Report, and Miles Davis to James Brown and The Beatles. This diversification is the cornerstone of blended creativity displayed in a unique listening experience. Jeff’s latest releases fuse electronic and acoustic instruments into a highly intriguing mix of harmonic complexities and compositional surprises. Reminiscent of Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea’s adventures in the 80’s, Jeff has built upon these premises to create an even deeper journey into the depths of the raw and edgy energy.
Jeff’s hope for the listener is to take them on a musical odyssey, similar to watching one of your favorite Sundance films, provocative and invigorating. This is improvisation, this is experimentation.