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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Keith Pray: Confluence

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When most people discuss the jazz scene in New York, they're referring to the music that's made in Manhattan and the surrounding boroughs, but the Empire State stretches far beyond the city that never sleeps and jazz is made in many a locale within. The Capital region, for example, has its own burgeoning jazz scene that's worth noting and saxophonist Keith Pray is a key part of it. Pray has become a force for furthering jazz through ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Keith Pray: Confluence

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When not leading the 17-piece Big Soul Ensemble, the Soul Jazz Revival group or the New Orleans-style Mohawk Brass Band, bandleader, educator and alto saxophonist Keith Pray fronts a hard-swinging quartet performing at venues in Albany and throughout the Capital District of upstate New York. Confluence is his fifth recording as leader, a project he designed for his working quartet but modified with the addition of guitarist Chuck D'Aloia, an idea that remained percolating after seeing a 1994 gig of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Keith Pray's Big Soul Ensemble: Live at the Lark Tavern

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Live recording can be a mixed blessing. On a live album, an artist has an opportunity to capture the raw energy created in performance before an audience. When the band is cooking and the audience is whooping it up, it is clear that while music is made in rehearsal halls and recording studios, it lives onstage. On the other hand, recording live presents its own unique set of challenges. Getting the best possible sound in the controlled environment of the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Keith Pray's Big Soul Ensemble: Live at the Lark Tavern

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There's something marvelously intimate and involving about hearing a swinging big band live in a smaller venue. It can be let-inhibitions-go dark, bump-elbow tight and, with food and drink circling about, noisy. Perhaps the big concert (big bucks?) format of the Radio Cities, Symphony Halls or Lincoln Centers--the stuff seen on PBS (American Public Television)--slightly diminishes the experience when compared with the intensity, the sense of involvement, even the funkiness and soul of the small venue live performance.

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