Film Compositions and Appearances
Quincy Jones: In The Pocket. Ayala both scored the incidental music for this documentary film and can be both heard on several film cuts (and in one clip even seen) on piano in the film. (These clips were taken from a performance in which Isaac was pianist at The Theatre de Champs Elysee with The Quincy Jones Big Band in Paris, France in 2001.).
Broadway: The American Musical. Vintage-style tracks were recorded with Isaac on piano for this documentary on the history of Broadway.
Dave Chappelle’s Block Party. Isaac ben Ayala appears as a guest artist in this production, and even appears in the bonus clips playing and conducting hip-hop on the Rhodes for Dave Chappelle.
Shades of Gray. This award-winning short, film-noir drama about New York City cops and corruption was scored entirely by Isaac ben Ayala. Strains of muted trumpet and unnervingly slow-moving string dissonance heard in the gritty “back-alley scene” bring this intense film to a tension-filled climax.
Evening. (2007). Two stride piano improvisations: One For Ernie & Evening Cocktails (composed by Andy Farber).
The Great Debaters (Directed by & starring Denzel Washington. Isaac is heard with The Sultans of Swing Big Band playing 30’s-style music as well as some solo boogie-woogie piano tracks in this drama based on the true story of Melvin B. Tolson, a professor at Wiley College Texas. In 1935, he inspired students to form the school’s first debate team, which went on to challenge Harvard in the national championship. Forest Whitaker stars in this picture.
The Mark Twain Prize (2007) (Honoring Billy Crystal) . Isaac improvises in an 1800’s style while Mr. Crystal accepts his Award. Isaac plays with David Berger’s Sultans of Swing Big Band for this star studded tribute to one of the true greats of comedy.
The Mark Twain Prize (2009) (Honoring Bill Cosby) Isaac does it once again…
The Mark Twain Prize (2013) (Honoring Carol Burnett) Isaac does improvisational skits with comedians Maya Rudolf, Amy Poehler and a whole lot more in this cavalcade of stars and artists.
Serious Works for Orchestra and Choir
The Swing Mikado, an original adaptation of Gilbert & Sullivan’s Mikado,
This musical, produced by Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis, had a run at the historic Karamu Theatre, Cleveland, OH.
Basin Street Blues, an arrangement for orchestra and traditional jazz band, based on the
popular American standard, premiered at the Kennedy Center, Washington, DC, Marvin Hamlisch, conductor.
Echad Mi Yodea, an original composition for full SATB Choir w/divisi
(from the Passover Hagadah), 7MUSIC7 Publishing (ASCAP).
Halloween, an orchestral collaboration with native New Orleans singer/songwriter Clint Maedgen.