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 Prelude, 1998’s “Remember J.L. Ava Ava” African gospel album, 2002’s “Spellings”, 2006’s Ebotan and 2008’s Unforgettable Soweto.
Jay Lou Ava is member of The ARK Jammers Connection, a mission-driven organization gathering artists and music lovers from different cultures and from all walks of life, who are dedicated to spreading kindness and promoting intercultural dialogue through the unifying power of music.
Jay’s signature music is a fusion of jazz and African music, drawing from both contemporary and traditional African rhythms and melodies,
Fred Edmonds of “All About Jazz” called Ava’s music “Mature, smooth, harmonious, and delicately mixed. A clever blend of the musical techniques of jazz and the complex syncopated African rhythms, reconciling styles and people, and bringing them hope and peace.”.