Keith Pray leading his ensemble at Tess' Lark Tavern (photo by Andrzej Pilarczyk)
The Tess’ Lark Tavern regular performers will gather together to present “A Night at Tess’ Lark Tavern: A Benefit Celebration featuring the House Bands of the Lark Tavern” at The Linda in Albany at 7pm on Thursday, June 10.
No, unfortunately, we weren’t able to swing by – and we do mean swing – UAlbany’s Campus Center Assembly Hall on Saturday to catch any of the all-day jazz celebration in honor of DJ Bill McCann’s 25th anniversary at the campus radio station, WCDB-FM.
But saxman Brian Patneaude was kind enough to let us know about this video from the bash. It’s Keith Pray’s Big Soul Ensemble blowing through Yuko Kishimoto’s “Elements.” The song also kicks off BSE’s CD, “Live at the Lark Tavern.”
Unless you’ve had the great pleasure of seeing it for yourself, you might have considerable difficulty imagining saxman Keith Pray‘s 17-piece Big Soul Ensemble performing in the intimate back room at Tess’ Lark Tavern in Albany.
But they do. Regularly. On the first Tuesday of each month. And the results are magnificent.
The sprawling band has just recently finished recording their debut live album at Tess’, so you can bet that the ensemble will be in tip-top shape and ready to roar at 9pm Tuesday (December 1).
It’s no secret that Tess’ Lark Tavern is a prime destination. Metroland just named it Albany’s best bar – and we here at Nippertown certainly second that decision.
One reason is the Big Soul Ensemble. Led by saxmaster Keith Pray, this aptly named combo has a monthly residency there on the first Tuesday of month. And this is no ordinary night of entertainment. It’s an exceedingly rare opportunity to see and hear some of the area’s very best jazz musicians joining forces in a roof-raising celebration of big-band music – both vintage and contemporary – that will definitely feed your soul.
That’s right – big band music. And they don’t skimp, either. When they say big band, they mean 17 pieces. Count ’em – 17.
And it’s free! Great Googly Moogly, what more could you ask for?
Anyway, for the past several months, BSE has been recording their shows in the hopes of compiling a live album. In order to speed the process up a bit, the band will be rolling into the Lark Tavern on four consecutive Tuesdays between July 28 and August 18. All shows begin at 9pm.
This is awesome stuff! And while admission is free, donations will be accepted – and greatly appreciated.
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