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The Roots Bandmate and Composer, Ray Angry, Brings Eclectic Sounds to BK for Winter Jazzfest

Composer Ray Angry of The Roots will be playing a dazzling set featuring special guests tomorrow at Brooklyn Bowl as part of the city’s annual Winter Jazzfest.
Composer Ray Angry. Photo: Supplied/Angry.

New York City’s annual Winter Jazzfest has officially kicked off, featuring performances from more than 500 musicians taking place in 17 venues across the city.

Among the festival’s many performers is composer, producer and keyboardist for The Roots, Ray Angry. Angry will be performing Jan. 14, at Brooklyn Bowl in Williamsburg along with Thaddeus Tribbett and a few other special surprise guests.

Angry will perform a set inspired by “Producer Mondays,” a weekly event at Nublu in the East Village he founded in 2018, where he and other producers compose music in a live show. Saturday's performance will be Angry’s first time bringing "Producer Mondays" outside its home at Nublu.

“I wanted to create something that allowed creators to sort of put down all the barriers and have a space where artists can actually create together from a very authentic point of view,” Angry said.  

“For me, the art of composing and creating in the moment is something that I'm really excited about. And I really want to just kind of showcase people that are like me that can compose and make music on the spot.”

Angry, a Miami native, grew up surrounded by diverse music style. After attended various art programs across the city, he became a classical music major at the New World School of the Arts.

The classically trained pianist has roots in gospel and jazz and started his professional career working R&B and hip hop artists like Lauryn Hill, Queen Latifah, Q-Tip and more. He is the keyboardist for famous, critically acclaimed, genre-defining hip hop band, The Roots.

“I just love creating, and I love being as diverse as possible,” said Angry, who in recent years has been scoring music for film and TV.

“I don't I don't want to be the type of musician that specializes in this one particular thing. I want to have an experience where I'm able to connect with anybody across genres, across platforms.”

Last year, Angry composed the score for the Netflix documentary “Descendant,” which tells the little-known story of a Black community in Alabama comprised of the descendants of the last known slave ship to come to America.

Angry worked with the film’s director to conceptualize a score containing classical and African music elements. He is also a frequent collaborator of Amy Schumer, scoring the latest seasons of her shows “Life & Beth” and “Inside Amy Schumer.”

“Studying all these different genres and being a student [of] music helps me to be able to work with an Amy Schumer who's doing a comedy and you know, and then do a serious piece,” Angry said.

In November 2022, Angry premiered his first-ever symphony, “BLACK ATHENA ~ POWER” at the Lexington Symphony in Massachusetts. The symphony’s music is comprised of both classical and hip hop elements.

“I wanted to put my perspective on what I think classical music is from a Black perspective,” Angry said.

To prepare, Angry took composition lessons to familiarize himself with the instruments that make up an orchestra.

“My symphony just sort of birthed itself as a result of me studying every day. I mean, literally everyday waking up at 5:00am in the morning writing and studying the inner workings of the orchestra.”

Angry’s upcoming projects include the score for the Paramount Plus film LockDown, and the release of his latest solo piano album, "Ray Angry 3," due later this year.

His set at the Winter Jazz Fest is set to begin at 7:20pm, Saturday night. The festival began Jan. 12, and will run until Jan. 18.