Keith Pray

Keith Pray

 Cohoes, New York, USA
BandJazzJam

Keith Pray is a versatile saxophonist, composer and bandleader who explores the boundaries of mainstream jazz, blues, the avant garde and gritty funk captivating audiences with any of his several performing groups which include small ensembles as well as a big band.

Biography

Saxophonist and composer Keith Pray is a native of Upstate NY. Keith began his study of the saxophone in 1988 at age 15, and had his first professional performance one year later. Since then, Keith has traveled from the West Coast to Europe playing with hundreds of gifted musicians, including some of the giants of the business: Paul Anka, Benny Golson, The Temptations, Ray Vega, Mark Vinci and Ralph Lalama. For 8 years, he resided and preformed in New York City and played with artists from multiple disciplines including R&B, Jazz, Latin and Big Band. Now relocated to NY's Capital Region, Keith performs regularly and teaches saxophone at SUNY Oneonta, jazz arranging and jazz history at Schenectady County Community College and instrumental music for the Schenectady City School District.

Keith has taken the city’s eclectic culture and infused it into his original performances and compositions. This blend is also heard and felt as he teaches individuals or as he holds clinics at all levels including High School and College. Whether one hears Keith perform or learns from him, his love for music and respect for the different genres is loud and true.
His unique style and talent has allowed him to perform and record across the spectrum of today’s music. Having worked on dozens of recordings he was honored to be a featured soloist on the Grammy Nominated Entres Amigos by Alex Torres and the Latin Kings. Keith’s style can be attributed to the influences from the greats deep in the Jazz tradition, including Cannonball Adderly, Lockjaw Davis, Maceo Parker, Earl Bostic, Johnny Hodges, Willis Jackson and Jackie Mclean.
Keith has also been seen on ABC’s Good Morning America and The View and Food Network’s Food Nation. Other performances of note include The Newport Jazz Festival, Albany’s Riverfront Jazz Festival, 103.1 Smooth Jazz Festival, Albany’s Tulip Festival, Larkfest, Fleet Blues Fest as well as a featured artist at A Place for Jazz.
In 2001, Keith released his first recording, Rhythm of the Blues. Fans and appreciative listeners have said:
“Keith has the soul and energy of a young Cannonball Adderly”
and
“Keith always makes us feel good when we hear him”
and
“Keith is the only saxophonist I have heard that smiles through his music.”
His second recording, C.D.’s Delight was recorded during his performance at A Place for Jazz. Present at that night a listener said:
“you can feel the energy his live performance come through the notes and seep into your soul”
With a third recording, One Last Stop, now released Keith and a fourth on the way, Keith is constantly honing his craft through study, practice and by experimenting with new ideas on the bandstand. Currently, Keith is performing throughout the North Eastern United States with his latest projects including his big band (Big Soul Ensemble) and his group the Soul Jazz Revival including original music by Keith.
Honors and accolades follow Keith: of note are the ASCAP Louis Armstrong Award and the Essex County Performing Arts Award. Keith is also a member of the Schenectady Musical Union, BMI and Capital District Jazz ltd.

Discography

2002 Keith Pray Rhythm of the Blues

2004 Keith Pray C.D.'s Delight

2006 Keith Pray One Last Stop

2010 Keith Pray's Big Soul Ensemble: Live at the Lark Tavern

Set List

Selection of material is always based upon the ensemble performing as well as the venue and audience in attendance. The ultimate goal is to always communicate with the audience and bring them on a journey that is enjoyable for all.