KEITH PRAY'S BIG SOUL ENSEMBLE
WOMEN'S HISTORY MONTH
The Van Dyck
March 4, 2014
Keith Pray’s Big Soul Ensemble commemorated Women’s History Month by dedicating their March performance to women composers with connections to the Capital District. The band featured pieces by Yuko Kishimoto, Erica Seguine and Peg Delaney.
The works of Yuko Kishimoto were prominently featured in the two sets. The compositions ranged from classic big band chart "Blues Lee" to the wistful “It’s a Mystery”; the enigmatic exotic yet logical “Elements” to the beautiful ballad "Caricia."
One of the more amusing compositions was the funky tune “Side Kicks”. The melodica was featured in many of Yuko's compositions. When she was in the area, Yuko frequently guested on melodica. It was explained that the melodica was taught to many Japanese school children. Pianist Dave Gleason played melodica for this performance, minus the the wah wah pedal Yuko used when she would sit in with the band.
Erica Seguine sat in with the band on keyboards to play her arrangements and compositions. Her arrangement of the classic hard bop Horace Silver tune “The Outlaw” featured an exotic sounding tenor solo by Brian Patneaude followed by the trumpet of Dylan Canterbury. Her composition "Tribal Chant" was an expository piece exploring the primitive similar to Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring”. She confounded and amazed all with her composition “Reel No. 1”, an Irish reel performed by a jazz big band!!!
Peg Delaney, a stalwart on the Capital District jazz scene, contributed two compositions, both inspired by travel to the Caribbean - “Dream Vacation”, an aural description of a Caribbean cruise and “Hey Mon”, a funky tune inspired by the people of the Caribbean.
It was obvious from this fine evening of performances, that the Capital District not only has strong jazz players , but a plethora of fine composers. It is unfortunate that many of these compositions have yet been recorded. One can only hope one day…
Rudy Lu is a safety consultant by day , fine arts photographer nights and weekends and an occasional music critic. He has had a passion for jazz since his college days when he was a dj for WRUC (Radio Union College). He is a frequent contributor to nippertown.com as well as albanyjazz.com. His work has been exhibited locally and has been featured by both nationally known and local musicians. He lives in Niskayuna, NY.