Kai Chareunsy is a U.K. based drummer and composer specialising in jazz and improvised music. Known for his sensibility to sound and melodic approach to drumming, he is becoming an established member of the U.K. music scene and has performed and recorded with a number of outstanding artists.
Over the last two years Kai has been working with singer and composer Rosie Tee, creating expressive and textural drum parts for her music, described by BBC Radio 6 as ‘Jazz infused, alt-pop’. A highlight of this time was recording a live session at Abbey Road in October 2018. He is also a key component of Trampette, a groove-based, genre-crossing quartet, comprised of piano, bass, percussion and drums. They experiment with expanding the roles a traditional ‘rhythm section’ are expected to play and have performed at notable festivals and venues including Cheltenham Jazz Festival, Sofar London and Band on The Wall, Manchester. On top of being a busy sideman, Kai has a distinctive sound as a bandleader and composer, aiming to challenge the listeners distinction between composition and improvisation. His music moves seamlessly between intricate notated passages and free improvisation. One of his most notable achievements as a composer and bandleader was writing for and performing with internationally renowned, New York, alto saxophone player, John O’Gallagher.
Kai graduated with first-class honours from a scholarship at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire in the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Adapting to the lockdown restrictions, his creative output has been focussed on exploring how he can work as a solo artist. These explorations have demonstrated to Kai, the power of the drum kit as a solo instrument and its ability to create dynamic and engaging narratives. As he puts it “this is an instrument that in any band can be the quietest or the loudest; express the greatest range of sounds and textures, and has the richest cultural history; with its marching band snare drum, toms from West Africa, China and Japan, and Turkish cymbals. If this can be understood and realised through performance or composition then the potential of this instrument is unlimited.”
Kai is an open-minded and inquisitive musician trying to understand the lineage of jazz and improvised music whilst making meaningful contributions to this cannon.