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Steve Gray
1944 - 2008
Great Britain, England
S. Gray
Steve Gray (18/04/1944 - 20/09/2008) was a English pianist, composer, and arranger. Gray was born in Middlesbrough, England. At ten, he began teaching himself to play the piano. He joined the Middlesbrough Junior Orchestra, at first playing the bassoon, but later switching to the saxophone. The orchestra was directed by Ron Aspery, who would go on to create the fusion group Back Door. During the 1970s he played sessions for Quincy Jones, Henry Mancini, Michel Legrand, Lalo Schifrin, Peggy Lee, Sammy Davis Jr and John Barry. Gray joined John Williams' band Sky in 1981, replacing Francis Monkman. Following Sky's retirement in 1995, Steve Gray continued his career as a respected composer (which he had been carrying out in parallel to his work with Sky). His compositions include two operas, a requiem mass for jazz big band and choir, a guitar concerto and a piano concerto written for French jazz pianist Martial Solal. He also provided a full orchestration of the works of Brian Eno (in collaboration with the original composer). From 1991, he worked closely with the North German Radio (NDR) Big Band in Hamburg (at the invitation of singer and composer Norma Winstone) and from 1998 he worked as guest professor of composition and arrangement in the jazz institute of Berlin's Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler.[1] Gray also composed production music for such labels as Amphonic, KPM and Bruton.
Requiem for choir and big band
Period:21st century
Composed in:2003
Musical form:mass
Text/libretto:Latin mass
Label(s):Skip Records SKP 9045
This classical jazz requiem for choir and big band contains:
01. (Introitus) Requiem & Kyrie 8'08"
02. Sequence I – Dies irae, Tuba mirum, Rex tremendae 9‘13“
03. Sequence II – Recordare Jesu pie 6‘04“
04. Domine Jesu Christe/Hostias 7‘27“
05. Sanctus 10‘07“
06. Agnus Dei 5‘01“
This recording is a true crossover between classical music and jazz. "I've always believed that the requiem mass ist he most intriguing musical-dramatic form. Opera, ballet, song-cycles; they deal with life, or tales of the supernatural. The requiem is about what a billion people believe will happen to them after they leave this life," Steve Gray explains. The NDR Bigband ist the most flexible and brilliant band I ever worked with and the soloists have to offer much more than the average bigband-soloists. All I ever wrote for them , they played, they understood and then they interpretated." The Requiem for choir and big band is surely one of the very few timeless compositions for sacred jazz music with the potential for a classic piece of music.
Writing the requiem Gray got serious health problems. He wrote "Confutatis maledictis" and "Hostias" in hospital. After a heart operation he was able to finish the work.
Author:Herman Ram