“A Night at Tess’ Lark Tavern” Benefit @ The Linda, 6/10/10

May 18th, 2010, 12:01 pm by Greg

Keith Pray leading his ensemble at Tess' Lark Tavern

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.

Performing will be Jim Gaudet & the Railroad Boys, Keith Pray’s Big Soul Ensemble, MotherJudge & the Best Damn Open Mic EVER! Band, Ramblin Jug Stompers, Albany Poets’ Poets Speak Loud and special guest Bryan Thomas. These are the performers who have graced the stage at the Lark on a regular weekly or monthly basis for years – performers who have literally taken up residency at Tess’.

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LIVE: Keith Pray’s Big Soul Ensemble @ Bill McCann’s 25th Anniversary Jazz Fest at UAlbany, 4/17/10

April 19th, 2010, 3:50 pm by Greg

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.”

Real Good for Free: Big Soul Ensemble @ Tess’ Lark Tavern, 12/1/09

November 30th, 2009, 10:14 am by Greg

Big band + small venue = powerhouse jazz.

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).

(photo by Andrzej Pilzrczyk)

(photo by Andrzej Pilzrczyk)

Real Good for Free: Big Soul Ensemble @ Tess’ Lark Tavern

July 27th, 2009, 10:07 am by Greg

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.

Photos by Andrzej Pilarczyk.


Real Good for Free: Hats Off Music Festival, Saratoga (7/31-8/1)
Real Good for Free: :30 Live! @ Berkshire Fringe (Mon / Wed)
Real Good for Free: Lake Luzerne (Thursdays)
Real Good for Free: Dutchman’s Landing, Catskill (Thursdays)
Real Good For Free: The Crossings in Colonie (Thursdays)
Real Good For Free: Rensselaer Riverfront Park (Wednesdays)
Real Good for Free: Kids’ shows in Troy (Wednesdays at noon)
Real Good for Free: Valatie’s Glynn Square (Sundays)
Real Good for Free: Schaghticoke Town Hall Gazebo (Thursdays)
Real Good For Free: Brunswick Community Center (Tuesdays)
Real Good for Free: Thurman (Mondays)
Real Good for Free: Sharon Springs (Wednesdays)
Real Good for Free: Rock-It in Schenectady (Fridays)
Real Good for Free: Bethlehem Public Library (Wednesdays)
Real Good for Free: East Greenbush Comm. Library (Wednesdays)
Real Good for Free: Stony Creek Town Park (Tuesdays)
Real Good For Free: RiverLink Park, Amsterdam (Saturdays)
Real Good For Free: Halfmoon (Wednesdays)
Real Good For Free: Chestertown (Thursdays)
Real Good for Free: Bolton Landing (Tuesdays)
Real Good for Free: Greenport Park, Hudson (Fridays)
Real Good for Free: The Sounds of Salem (Saturday mornings)
Real Good For Free: AHMF @ Lake George (Wednesdays)
Real Good for Free: Latin Fest @ Washington Park (Sat. Aug. 29)
Real Good for Free: The Clark @ Williamstown (Tuedays)
Real Good For Free: Skidmore Jazz (Various days)
Real Good For Free: Schenectady Central Park (Sunday afternoons)
Real Good For Free: Clifton Park (Sundays)
Real Good for Free: Albany Public Library (Third Fridays)
Real Good for Free: At The Plaza, Albany (Wednesdays)
Real Good for Free: Skidmore’s Tang Museum (Fridays)
Real Good For Free: Rockin’ on the River, Troy (Wednesdays)
Real Good For Free: Pearl Street Live (Thursdays)
Real Good For Free: Freedom Park, Scotia (Various days)
Real Good For Free: Jazz on Jay (Thursdays at noon)
Real Good For Free: Cook Park, Colonie (Tuesdays)
Real Good For Free: Lake George (Wednesdays)
Real Good For Free: Canajoharie (Tuesdays)
Real Good For Free: Guilderland (Thursdays)
Real Good For Free: Alive @ 5 (Thursdays)
Real Good For Free: Powers Park (Saturdays)

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