Born: April 18, 1960 Primary Instrument: Keyboard
Keyboardist NEIL ALEXANDER has performed professionally for 30+ years. He works with music in all forms and styles from Composer/Arranger and Production of Live Sound to Musical Theater, Modern Dance and Film. Grants from NYSCA and Meet The Composer gave Neil the opportunity to continue building on his composing skills. Neil also teaches Master Classes in Synthesizer Programming and Music Performance Technology, and composes works for small ensembles. As an active musician he has recordings and/or a performance history with a variety of groups and artists such as Gunther Hampel, Tal Ross (P-Funk), Charles Haynes, Erik Lawrence, and The Adaptors Movement Theater. His classical repertoire includes works by Stravinsky, Charles Ives, and John Cage. He recently retired from the Pink Floyd Tribute The Machine, where he was a driving force in the group’s success for ten years and is currenty holds the keyboard chair in Gregg Bendian's Mahavishnu Project. In addition, he does electronic and/or acoustic solo performances including “Scene Re- seen” (live electronic scoring of silent films).
In 1997, Neil Started his electric jazz ensemble Neil Alexander and NAIL and continues to be committed to the future of Jazz and improvised music. With a diverse stylistic palette and fierce musicianship, the ensemble skillfully blends modern and traditional forms with experimental concepts and electronic music. Although currently not touring, their latest release is “Tugging At The Infinite”. The previous release, “Galvanized”, garnered many favorable reviews.
Review by Brent Black, CriticalJazz.com
Much like some people met as you walk through life, some have to grow on you and music is no different. Neil Alexander's Darn That Dream Volume 1 with two versions of the classic Van Heusen/DeLange song gave me the impression that Alexander was attempting to play it safe with multiple reharms of the same tune and I was expecting the rest of the set list to consist of the typical cast of characters including Cole Porter, George Gershwin and perhaps a touch of Monk thrown in for flavor. I was pleasantly surprised that only four of the eleven tunes were covers and not the standard bill of fare piano aficionados had come to expect.
Solo piano may be the most difficult format to master on a consistent basis and Alexander has mad skills and proves he is well on his way to being a force to be taken more than seriously in this idiom. While of course Darn That Dream is spot on one of the most interesting covers is that of the Pat Metheny tune Sirabhorn. Metheny is not known for keeping things on the straight and narrow. Alexander follows the lead of Metheny and conducts his own harmonic riff on what is considered by many professionals as a less than a melodic walk in the park. Whisper of Angels is an intimate ballad whose inspiration is derived from Alexander bring his wife and new born home from the hospital. No where does Alexander let up in intensity be it ballad or a blues infused number with a splash of swing added such as Blues For Martha.
Perhaps the one thing that sells me on this release the most is thinking back to a conversation I had about a year ago with guitarist Roni Ben-Hur who bristles at the phrase sounds like. Granted as a frame of reference for new artists then we may have something to work with but Alexander establishes his own voice and is clearly taken the artistic road less traveled by many piano players/ Volume 2 is scheduled for release in 2014 and if Alexander stays true to his artistic sense of self while working the solo piano format his growth as an artist should be exponential.
The depth of flavor, variety and lyrical sense of adventure all allow this release to sound better with each subsequent spin of the disc.
Impressive. 4 Stars.
Neil Alexander & NAIL Tugging At The Infinite
CD Review From Roll Magazine, April 2008
Proudly proclaiming that there is “No electric guitar on this record”, Neil Alexander strikes a blow for keyboardists everywhere, armed with a rack of synth modules and his trusty hand held controller. With prodigious chops, chordal vocabulary and supple support from local jazz favorites Charlie Kniceley, T Xiques, and Nadav Snir-Zelniker, among others, Alexander’s instrumentals cover considerable ground between 70’s Jeff Beck, Bitches Brew-style jazz jam and John Carpenter movie soundtracks. Plus the inevitable guitar- sound-on-a-keyboard thing. www.nailmusic.com.
As a Leader
Neil Alexander & NAIL "Tugging At The Infinite"
Tracks: Earlier Still; Starlight Casts No Shadow; The One That Got Away; Everyman (The Flight Of The Falcon); Bread-Man; In Memoriam; While The City Dreams; (At The) Water's Edge.
Personnel: Neil Alexander: Synthesizer/Sampler. Nadav Zelnicker, T Xiques, Amit Shamir: Drums. Amarildo Costa: Percussion. Charlie Kniceley, Nick Misch, Steve Rust: Bass. Norbert Stachel: Tenor Sax. Marshall Woodall: Acoustic Guitar.
Tracks: Rain Road; Time & Again; Plateau Of Dreams part 1; School Of Velocity; Ghost Dance; Plateau of Dreams PArt 2; The Winter.
Personnel: Neil Alexander: Synthesizer/Sampler. Dean Sharp: Drums/Percussion/Sampler. Dave Hofstra: Acoustic/Electric Bass.
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Willing to teach:
Intermediate to advanced students
Private instruction in Jazz Piano, Synthesizer Programming, Music Software, Looping, etc. Late afternoons prefered; $70 per hour.
Lec/Dems in Technology for Musical performance; Improvisation Clinics; Master Classes in group performance, music technology. Ableton LIVE a specialty.