Kayos Theory is a creative improvisational ensemble conceived by Jonathan & Andrew Kay to explore the synthesis of the East and West in an innovative yet mystical musical expression.  Influenced by the sonic realms of India’s spiritual and musical traditions, Kayos Theory weaves a potent tapestry inspired by the transcendental atmospheres of the ancient India Raga.

The saxophone brothers, Jonathan and Andrew Kay, weave cascading lattices of melodic harmony while Justin Gray and Adam Teixeira accompany on the acoustic bass and drums respectively with percussive soundscapes and earthy grooves. Over the years this ensemble has devoted sincere time to cultivating an intuitive and psychic bond reflected by their inspirational and powerful performances.

Focusing recently on the development of an innovative new composition, the Experiments of Truth Suite is a through-composed improvisational vehicle intended to symbolically and mystically express the journey of individual and cosmic consciousness. Based on the fundamental principals of ancient Indian Philosophy and it’s system of Nada Yoga, the Path of liberation through sound and music, the Suite aims to guide the musician and listener on a meditative journey deep within, establishing a direct identification and connection with the Inner being.

Kayos Theory are deeply inspired by John Coltrane and have immersed themselves in the exploration of his later period music and are dedicated to continuing his lineage and search for a “multicultural theory of musical transcendence”.

Kayos Theory has been fortunate to feature some of Canada’s finest creative musicians and saxophone players including David MottPat LaBarbera, David Mott and Mike Murley. Kayos Theory is currently working of the multi-media release of their first album The Experiments of Truth Suite featuring Daniel Carter.

Kayos Theory History


Starting as a collective of Canada’s most promising young creative musicians, Kayos Theory has been pushing the boundaries of modern jazz for the past 12 years. Their search for a deeper and more intuitive form of collective expression has lead them far beyond the standard approach to jazz music and into the experimental and mystical realms inspired by the spirituality and philosophy of India as well as the pioneering work of visionary musician, John Coltrane.

For years Kayos Theory played regularly in Toronto’s jazz clubs, developing their own interpretation of jazz standards and performing from an impressive catalogue of original compositions. Receiving praise from the respected Jazz greats in Toronto, Kayos Theory’s originality and mature musicality was beginning to attract attention.

But from an inner guiding voice inspiring a further expansion of their musical consciousness, the founders of the band, saxophone playing brothers, Jonathan and Andrew Kay, along with bass player, Justin Gray, found themselves on a life changing journey into the spiritual heart of the world, India, aspiring to continue Coltrane’s search for a “multicultural theory of musical transcendence”. Immersing themselves deep in the transcendental nature of India’s Ragas, the trio found a whole new language of penetrating moods, rhythmic cadences, and resonating from the infinite depths of the drone, a spiritual expanse and mystical power that inspired an illumined source of creation.

After years of Indian Classical music training in the traditional Guru-Shishya Parampara with their Guru, Pandit Shantanu Bhattacharyya, the trio returned home to share experiences and reconnect with their musical soul-mates and start the collective search to unlock the latent powers of the mystical music traditions from India. Based on a collective concentration in the absolute silence beyond the manifest, a creative potency can be harnessed far beyond the limitations of the knowledge-mind to reflect the illumined realms of the spiritual creative consciousness. To quote India’s great mystical Yogi, Sri Aurobindo “It is out of this Silence that the Word which creates the worlds for ever proceeds; for the Word expresses that which is self-hidden in the Silence.”

Based on Sri Aurobindo’s teachings of Indian philosophy and Integral Yoga in his masterpiece “The Synthesis of Yoga”, Jonathan Kay composed a twelve part Suite, “Experiments of Truth”, which is an hour long creative and collective journey into the transformative spiritual and mystical realms of the creative Yogic consciousness through sound and music. Based on this ancient science of Nada Yoga, the Suite aims to guide the musician and listener on a meditative journey deep within, establishing a direct identification and connection with the Innerbeing. This composition is truly a deep synthesis of Indian music and philosophy with improvisational free jazz language and is a meaningful evolution in the fabric of the global music revolution.

Finding a guiding light emanating from Toronto’s own Zen-Master of musical vibration, David Mott became a regular special guest who’s presence elevated the bands psychic bond, opening vast fields of possibility and potential. Blazing vibrations of celestial harmony painted on the canvas of the illumined mind; the Experiments of Truth transformed the collective consciousness to newfound heights.

Also joining Kayos Theory as special featured guests was the world renowned Coltrane-scholar Pat LaBarbera, and Toronto’s own versatile saxophone genius Mike Murley, who both influenced the improvised unfolding of the “Experiments of Truth Suite” in their own individual and colourful perspectives.

Kayos Theory also immersed themselves in the Coltranian path of mystical and musical ascension through the study and performance of his late period original music. Using concepts of Coltrane’s music deeply laced with elements of the Indian Ragas moods and forms, the band has reinterpreted his late-period, and commonly under appreciated music in a relevant, inspiring and vibrant new light.

Jonathan’s arrangement of Coltrane’s Prayer and Meditations Suite elaborates on Coltrane’s exotic mode in relation to a mesmerizing drone with a highly developed and subtle melodic unfolding based in the traditional system of Indian music; Alaap, Jor, Jhala. The rest of the suite finds a slow build over the course of a typical Raga Vilumbit and Drut Gat development with the cyclical spirals of Indian rhythmic talas (cycles), and rhythmic cadences (tihais). Coltrane’s composition India segueing into After the Rain is Kayos Theory’s riveting reinterpretation of an ancient tribal folk expression reminiscent of Coltrane’s mystical otherworldliness achieved in the 1961 Village Vanguard Tapes.

Returning home to Toronto after many years living in India, the saxophone brothers collaborated again with their long time friend and bassist, Justin Gray, and continued to find inspiration coming from the creative process of the Experiments of Truth Suite. They decided to continue its evolution by featuring at the Toronto International Jazz Festival one of the world’s leading creative jazz musicians, saxophonist, Tony Malaby. Deconstructing the compositional process and inspiring the band to new heights of interpretation and abstraction, Tony Malaby brought his unique pallet of textures and colours, influencing the unfolding of the Suite into new and unchartered realms. Also exploring Coltrane’s music together, the band alongside Malaby choose to embark on a rarely walked path; presenting one of Coltrane’s sacred masterpieces, Meditations Suite. Played not as an imitation or re-creation, but in the spirit of respectful homage to a master Guru, interpreting Meditations Suite demanded a creative maturity that greatly challenged the band, but under Malaby’s mystical influence, the unfolding of Coltrane’s themes came in a natural flow with sincerely and honestly. Being the catalyst who demanded a deeper level of listening and musical conversation, Malaby’s presence not only enhanced the music of Kayos Theory but also deeply influenced their vision of the creative process and what being a creative artist is all about.

After 10 years of cultivating their art locally in Toronto, in 2014 the Kay brothers had the great privilege of participating in a groundbreaking cross-cultural research project based in Kolkata, India, lead by their inspiring and innovative friend from France, Amandine Pras. Amandine, is a internationally renowned recording and mixing engineer, as well as producer, who’s is constantly working all over the world, but she had been passionately involved in the New York free jazz scene while she has lived there over the past years. In collaboration with Amandine, the Kay brother and Kayos Theory became the meeting place for a groundbreaking cross-cultural experiment in improvisation.

Bringing vibrant and creative raw expression from the heart of New York City, and traveling to India for the first time, came 2 of the world’s great  jazz musicians, drummer Jim Black and saxophonist Michael Attias. Steeped in the deep classical traditions of Indian Raga music, sarodiya Sougata Roy Choudhury and tabliya Subhajyoti Guha offered India’s mystical musical language in a truly universal and new light. From the urban and contemporary youth of India came Kolkata based guitarist Bodhisattwa Ghosh and traditional shri kholist and percussionist Soumya Shankar Roy. Alongside the saxophone brothers, different combinations of these international musicians interpreted the Experiments of Truth Suite into another realm of cross-cultural synthesis, performing the Suite 4 times while on tour of North India to enthusiastic audiences.

Finding momentum and inspiration from the India tour, the Kay brothers returned home once again with a grand vision for the next incarnation of the Experiments of Truth Suite. This time the Kay brothers, alongside Toronto based drummer, Derek Gray, and bassist Julian Anderson-Bowes, ventured into the home of free jazz, New York City, to collaborate with free jazz master, Daniel Carter. This time a new element was added to the “experiment” that would influence the unfolding of the Suite in a whole new light. Meeting at the recording session for the first time and intentionally not being shown the compositional material, Daniel Carter would spontaneously react as the form of the Suite unfolded, while in turn equally influencing the bands interpretation and development of it. Needless to say, this experiment pushed the compositional material into challenging yet compelling and resonant spaces where the creative process was intensely heightened by the mastery of Daniels presence, who added flute, clarinet, soprano, alto and tenor saxes as well as trumpet to the instrumentation.  This innovative meeting of different generations and musical worlds was arranged by Amandine Pras, who recorded and produced the recording session at James L. Dolan Studios at New York University. This recording also featured for the first time, Andrew playing a unique set of 20 Himalayan singing bowls which gave this rendition of of the Suite a completely transcendental mood.

Over the past 10 years, the Experiments of Truth Suite has taken on a personality of its own and has been an important contribution which has pushed the boundaries of cross-cultural creative improvisation. The Suite’s 12 Cantos aim to balance composition, either musical or conceptual, with creative freedom, allowing the musicians to search for their own subjective interpretation of the material while collectively meditating on the same objective “Truth”, with the aim to convey that to the listener. The Suite can be performed with any collection musicians and over the years of its evolution, it has shown enough compositional integrity to be recognisable, while maintaining the ability to be interpreted creatively and freely in the moment. These two features; conveying subjective interpretation of a more objective deeper meaning, as well as compositionally being almost completely improvised but yet identifiable and recognisable, make up the essence of the Indian Raga system, and the saxophone brother’s intensive study of the Ragas with their Guru over the past 10 years in Kolkata, India, has given them the insight into both traditions in a new and innovative way. The Suite is leading to a new interpretation of cross-cultural synthesis and adding the the next evolution of Coltrane’s “multi-cultrural theory of musical transcendence”.

As for the Suite’s next reincarnation, let’s allow it to decide for itself.