Five Firsts: David Gleason of Sensemaya, etc.

David Gleason (photo by Niki Rossi)

(photo by Niki Rossi)

NAME: David Gleason
BAND AFFILIATION: Sensemaya, Soul Session, Keith Pray’s Big Soul Ensemble

1. THE FIRST ALBUM I EVER BOUGHT WAS … Hmm… I don’t think I can remember the first cassette tape I ever bought. I do remember the first CD I ever bought was “Billy Joel’s Greatest Hits.” I listened to it a bunch, and I had the piano/vocal book that went along with it. I learned a lot about harmony by comparing the chord symbols with the written music and the album.

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2. THE FIRST CONCERT THAT I EVER SAW WAS … My dad took me to see Ray Charles at the Starlite Music Theatre in Latham. That place was great. It had a rotating circular stage. Ray was really happening that night, and the band had a very deep groove. It was pretty inspiring.

3. THE FIRST MUSICAL INSTRUMENT I EVER OWNED OR PLAYED WAS … Violin, for a year in third grade. I didn’t practice much. I didn’t have much patience to work on getting a good sound. I guess I was lucky that the piano made a pretty good sound on its own. It lets you get right to playing music. To this day, I have a lot of respect for people who have great sounds on string, wind and brass instruments because it takes years develop. With keyboards, at least on a basic level, all you have to do is press the right key down, and you already have a great sound.

4. THE FIRST SONG THAT I EVER PERFORMED IN PUBLIC WAS … “New York, New York” at the seventh grade talent show. I programed all of the parts into my keyboard and recorded it on a cassette and then a group of us sang along to it. We wore fedoras.

5. THE FIRST BAND I WAS EVER IN WAS … My high school jazz ensemble. That was in ninth grade. Ever since then, I have always been in a big band every year of my life including the Empire State Youth Jazz Ensemble, the St. Rose Jazz Ensemble, the Crane Jazz Ensemble, the Tufts Big Band, the Joey Thomas Band, the Either/Orchestra and Keith Pray’s Big Soul Ensemble. Now I direct one at Schenectady High School.

David Gleason and the other members of Sensemaya will perform in concert at Freedom Park in Scotia at 7pm on Saturday to celebrate the release of the band’s debut album, “Shake It!” Sensemaya will also be playing a free show for the Jazz on Jay concert series on Jay Street in Schenectady at 12noon on Thursday, August 12.

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