Born: May 18, 1949 Primary Instrument: Composer/conductor
Jim McNeely was born in Chicago, and moved to New York City in 1975. In 1978 he joined the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra. He spent six years as a featured soloist with that band and its successor, Mel Lewis and the Jazz Orchestra (now The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra). 1981 saw the beginning of Jim’s 4-year tenure as pianist/composer with the Stan Getz Quartet. From 1990 until 1995 he held the piano chair in the Phil Woods Quintet. At the present time, he leads his own tentet, his own trio, and he appears as soloist at concerts and festivals worldwide.
Jim’s reputation as composer/arranger and conductor for large jazz bands continues to flourish. In 1996 he re-joined The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra as pianist and Composer-in Residence. He is also artist-in-residence with the Frankfurt Radio Big Band. Other recent work includes projects with the Danish Radio Big Band (where he was chief conductor for five years), the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, the Metropole Orchestra (Netherlands), the Swiss Jazz Orchestra, and the Stockholm Jazz Orchestra. The New York Times has called his writing “exhilarating”; DownBeat has said that his music is “eloquent enough to be profound”....
The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Up from the Skies: The Music of Jim McNeely (Planet Arts, 2006)
Danish Radio Big Band/Jim McNeely, (Cope, 2006)
Paul Klee, The Swiss Jazz Orchestra & Jim McNeely (Mons, 2006) Jim McNeely, In This Moment (Stunt, 2003)
Dave Liebman Big Band, Beyond the Line (OmniTone, 2003)
Jim McNeely Tentet, Group Therapy (OmniTone, 2001)
Jim McNeely, Sound Bites (Dragon, 1997)
Lickety Split: The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra Plays the Music of Jim McNeely (New World , 1997)
Phil Woods and Jim McNeely, Plays the Music of Jim McNeely (TCB, 1996)
Jim McNeely, Live at Maybeck, Volume 20 (Concord Jazz, 1992)
Phil Woods with Jim McNeely, Flowers for Hodges (Concord, 1991)
Phil Woods' Little Big Band, Real :Life (Chesky, 1990)
Jim McNeely, East Coast Blow Out (Lipstick, 1989)
Jim McNeely, Winds of Change (SteepleChase, 1989)
Jim McNeely, From the Heart (Owl, 1984)
Stan Getz, Blue Skies (Concord, 1982)
Mel Lewis & The Jazz Orchestra, Live at the Village Vanguard> (DCC, 1980)
Jim McNeely, The Plot Thickens (Muse, 1979)
Jim McNeely, Rain's Dance (SteepleChase, 1976)
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Willing to teach:
Advanced students only.
Musical Director: BMI Jazz Composers Workshop (1991-present) Graduate Composition/Arranging: Manhattan School of Music (2008-present) Arranging/Composition: William Paterson University (2002-present) Formerly Artist-in-Residence: NYU (1981-2008)
Composing and arranging for large jazz ensemble