Kai Lyons is from the Excelsior District of San Francisco and was surrounded by music and community from an early age. He completed his studies at Ruth Asawa School of the Arts in 2012 as the first to graduate from the acclaimed Classical Guitar Program, directed by Scott Cmiel. From 2012-2014, on full scholarship, Kai attended the prestigious jazz program at William Paterson University of New Jersey, directed by Mulgrew Miller. He studied with Vincent Herring, Gene Bertoncini, Harold Mabern, Rich Perry, and Hal Galper. Kai received a Bachelor of Arts in Music from San Francisco State University where he studied with Andrew Speight, Michael Zisman and Hafez Modirzadeh.
Ever since returning to the Bay Area in 2015, he has freelanced extensively and also traveled frequently to New York City, New Orleans, Brazil and the Caribbean on music trips. In 2018 he participated in Master Class: Orff-Afrique 2018 in Ghana, Africa.
Besides working with his own trio, Kai has performed with Mike Clark and Donald Harrison of Herbie Hancock’s Original Headhunters, Louis Romero, award-winning organist Wil Blades, Larry Vuckovich, Sueños and Illy Bogart.