Keith Pray – Interview – Thanks for Asking

Written by on February 25, 2024

Keith Pray – Interview – Thanks for Asking – by Liam Sweeny.

RRX: Who are you? Not, like, philosophically, but you know, who are the members of the band, who plays what? Describe yourself in one sentence (it can be a long sentence.)

KP: My name is Keith Pray and I play the saxophone, hammond organ, write music, lead several bands including e Big Soul Ensemble, The Keith Pray Quartet, 3 Bass Hit, and The Ortet along with any number of other projects I put together or join projects of others far too many to name, I also teach music at Ualbany, Schenectady High School, The Empire Youth Orchestra and am a family man to boot.

RRX: Do you have anything out right now that people can enjoy, and if so, what’s the best way for them to get it?

KP: I have recorded 9 albums under my name with several more on the way. My music can be found on my website as well as and the usual streaming platforms.

RRX: What do you think is the most poorly understood thing about music, or the music you play?

KP: That not all music has to be categorized and judged so microscopically. Duke Ellington said it best, “there are just two kinds of music, good and bad”. I don’t care what you call it, if it is created with honesty, then I appreciate it. If I enjoy the sounds then it must have resonated with me on a deeper level and if the person next to me is more affected by a different song or group that’s great, then maybe we can share our experiences and learn from each other. Instead in today’s world everyone is an authority and wants their voice to be the one that people follow. We need to understand that listening is the key, not talking so much.

RRX: “The best laid plans of mice and men…” I don’t really know the quote, but I know this one; sh*t happens. When we least expect it, calamity befalls us. Sometimes just comic inconvenience. Please tell us a story about some comic inconvenience that happened to you whilst performing?

KP: As a musician there are always so many funny things that happen but one that inconvenienced me was falling off the side of the stage a couple of times large band, small stage). I had my eyes closed and was talking a solo and just a bit close to the edge when…. Luckily the stage was only a short distance from the ground!

RRX: Love is a big part of music. We’re talking first loves here. Lots of cool stories about first loves and the things we do for those loves. Can you (or, in the case of a band, one member) talk about your first love, especially if you did something cool to express that love? (No names needed.)

KP: Well, my first real love is my wife Katie. Even before we were married she inspired several songs that became popular with my audiences and continues to inspire me over 20 years later!

RRX: We let it out differently when we play music. The happy, sad, good and back; it can all be put out musically. Overall, do you feel better when you sing about the better times, or the worser times? Is there a difference you can describe?

KP: I personally don’t connect to my music that way. The music may have been written in a certain mood or state of mind, but I love to play music that brings out the moment, how I am feeling right there as it is flowing out.

RRX: How can people keep up with you? What’s coming up, soon or eventually?

KP: People can track me down on facebook, instagram (#jazzlifezen), youtube and of course my website Upcoming, I play the last Tuesday of each month in Galway at the Cock n’ Bull with my group the Big Soul Ensemble, most Sundays in Catskill at the Avalon Lounge with Bobby Previte’s “Quartet A” and March 15th renowned trumpeter Ray Vega will be joining my quartet for a concert at Schenectady High School in the Black Box Theater.




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