Born in Cameroon, Africa, Israël Jean-Louis Ava first emerged with a spiritual, gospel-influenced sound that was partially inspired by his upbringing. His father often wrote religious songs when he was a child, and the presence of an organ in his house led to an early exposure to music. He began to play the organ for his school band and developed chops during his early teens. When his oldest brother, a brilliant jazz guitarist, turned him onto Duke Ellington and Wes Montgomery, he understood what he wanted to do with his life for the first time. He began jamming with local jazz musicians, picking up the guitar along the way and becoming quite the virtuoso. He began starting bands and traveling across the continent. To fulfill his father's requirement, he graduated as a Computer Science Engineer in Paris before starting his ongoing musical career.
Composer-arranger, collaborating most notably with Donny Elwood in the 90's, playing with Manu Dibango he also began releasing his own material, starting with 1997's Prelude. Since then, his independent albums have included 1997's Prélude,1998's “Remember J.L. Ava Ava” African gospel album, 2002's “Spellings” and 2006's Ebotan.
Jay Lou's style is a real fusion between jazz and modern African melodies, what he calls himself PAJ , aka Progressive Afro Jazz. Some of his compositions are now used for credits and commercials on TV and radio
...Jay's music is the kind we expect from a contemporary African artist: mature, smooth, harmonious and delicately mixed. The music is original in that it uses a guitar lead on African rhythms, which is seldom the case. The guitar, moving easily from a binary rhythm to a highly complicated 6/8 beat, surprises us, while the player does not lose himself in long and complex monologues. Through Jay Lou's style, modern Africa seduces the Western world. The music is meant to reconcile styles and people and to bring them hope and peace. This smooth African ambiance mixed with jazz is recommended as a must to those who want to discover soft and refreshing African rhythms.