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Neil Alexander

Pianist , Synthesist, keyboardist & composer Neil Alexander plays music from the heart with astounding passion and fire.

About Me

NYC born NEIL “NAIL” ALEXANDER is an award winning pianist, synthesist and composer. His work with music manifests in many forms and styles, including jazz, rock, funk, blues, electronica, ambient and contemporary classical. He is also active in Music Production, Live Sound engineering, Theater, Modern Dance and Film. His most recent CD release is “The Valley Of Hidden Dreams“, a collection of live and studio recordings including jazz quartets, tracks by NAIL, duets with Grant Calvin Weston, live-streamed tracks and ambient electronic music pieces.

A touring musician, Neil has a recording and/or a performance history with a wide variety of groups and artists such as Rez Abbasi, The Mahavishnu Project, Corey Glover, Tony “Thunder” Smith, Marty Balin, The Machine, Gunther Hampel, Tal Ross (P-Funk), Charles Haynes, Erik Lawrence, The Adaptors Movement Theater and many others. He has been composing for Modern Dance since 1982, and has worked with many choreographers and companies, such as Kevin Wynn, Molly Poerstel, Larry Clark, Lane Gifford, Jonathan Riedel and others. He was a staff musician at the SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Dance for 28 years, from 1991 until 2019. Neil also maintains a working classical repertoire including works by Stravinsky, Charles Ives, John Cage, Bela Bartok and others. In 2015 Neil received the Individual Artist Award from the Orange County Arts Council.

Started in 1999, Neil has continued to promote and manage his own electric jazz ensemble “NAIL” with whom he has produced 6 CDs, the most recent entitled “The Album That Never Was: Live Tracks 2023”. In 2009 NAIL received a “mini” grant to perform as part of the Hudson/Champlain Quadricentennial Celebration. The program included works by Bach, Beethoven, Duke Ellington, Hank Williams and the Beatles as well as original music. This year NAIL is celebrating their 20th anniversary with multiple shows around the region.

In 2012 Neil released his 1st solo piano CD “Darn That Dream: Solo Piano Vol. 1″ to critical acclaim, and from 2012-2013 toured a solo piano concert series titled “100 Years Of Spring“, celebrating the centennial of Stravinsky’s “Rite Of Spring” with a stunning solo piano arrangement. This was released in 2017 on “Solo Piano Vol. : Darn That Dream Live in LA″.  Various other projects include an acoustic/electric modern jazz trio, Solo Electronic performances (under the name “Nail Jung”), “Scene Re-seen” (live electronic scoring of silent films) and the “X Ensemble”, a new contemporary chamber music group blending modern and traditional forms . Other projects include “Mr. GONE“ and the improvising trio “Supercluster”.

He performs with a variety of local ensembles including the Eric Person Quartet and the Hudson Valley Jazz Ensemble. Neil also hosts ongoing electronic music meet-ups and teaches Master Classes in Synthesizer Programming, electronic Music Production and Music Performance Technology at both the high school and college level. More info about Neil can be found online at www.nailmusic.com.

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My Jazz Story

I love jazz because jazz provides in the moment creative freedom that is not always present in other styles of music. Having experience playing in many different genres, I am constantly drawn back to jazz - it's openess, the embracing of other styles within itself, and the foundation of improvisation - they influence all my performances, in whatever genre I'm working in. One The best shows I ever attended was the Zawinul Syndicate at the Blue Note in NYC in 2006. The band was on fire; they cooked for nearly 2 hours straight, and that was ONE SET. Some of the first jazz records I owned I discovered in my father's collection: Bill Evans/Live at the Village Vanguard and Herbie Hancock/Headhunters. Soon after I picked up Mahavishnu Orchestra/Birds Of Fire, John Abercrombie/Timeless, Keith Jarret/Survivors Suite, and Ralph Towner/Solstice. Before that were dozens of influential albums in my friends collections by artists like Deodato, George Benson (White Rabbit), Charlie Parker with Strings, Miles, Coltrane, and too many more to remember. Jazz is a fluid musical idiom - it's constantly changing, adapting and absorbing whatever else is going on the music landscape. It is it's internet flexibility that makes it so appealing to a performer such as myself.

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