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Owls Head, Maine

Born in Chicago. B.Mus. (composition) U. of Illinois. Pianist Thad & Mel, Stan Getz, Phil Woods. Comp-in-Res. Vanguard Jazz Orch. Chief Conductor, Frankfurt Radio Big Band. Professor Emeritus, Manhattan School of Music. 12 Grammy nominations. Husband and father.

Jim McNeely was born in Chicago. In 1975, having received a B.Mus. in composition from the University of Illinois, he moved to New York City. 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, and has earned him 12 Grammy nominations. In 1996 he re-joined The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra as pianist and Composer-in Residence. He is former chief conductor and currently composer-in-residence wth the Frankfurt Radio Big Band, where he has collaborated on projects with great artists such as Dave Holland, John Scofield, Luciana Souza, Branford Marsalis, Dave Douglas, Ambrose Akinmusire, and many others. Other recent work includes projects with the Danish Radio Big Band (where he was chief conductor for five years), the Metropole Orchestra (Netherlands), the Swiss Jazz Orchestra, and the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra. The New York Times has called his writing “exhilarating”; DownBeat has said that his music is “eloquent enough to be profound”. And he won a Grammy for his work on the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra’s “Monday Night Live at the Village Vanguard” on Planet Arts Records.
Jim has appeared as sideman on numerous recordings led by major artists such as Thad Jones, Mel Lewis, Stan Getz, Bob Brookmeyer, and Phil Woods. He has numerous albums under his own name. The latest is "Rituals" with Chris Potter and the Frankfurt Radio Big Band on the Double Moon label (*****!-DownBeat)
Teaching has also been an important element of Jim’s work. He is Professor Emeritus at Manhattan School of Music. He has held positions at William Paterson University and New York University. He was involved with the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop for 24 years, including 16 years as musical director. He has appeared at numerous college jazz festivals in the U.S. as performer and clinician. He has also done clinics and major residencies at dozens of institutions in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Japan, China, Australia, New Zealand, and Egypt.

Too many to be limited to 50 words.

Recordings as Leader:
Rain’s Dance (SteepleChase 4001)
The Plot Thickens (Muse 5378)
East Side, West Side (Owl 024)
From the Heart (Owl 045)
Winds of Change (SteepleChase 31256)
Jigsaw (w/Stockholm Jazz Orch.)(Dragon 213)
East Coast Blow Out (w/W. German Radio Big Band)(Lipstick 89 0072)
Jim McNeely at Maybeck (Vol. 20) (Concord 4522)
Sound Bites (w/Stockholm Jazz Orchestra & Dick Oatts)(Dragon 311)
Lickety Split--The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra Plays the Music of Jim McNeely (New World 80534-2)
Nice Work--The Danish Radio Jazz Orchestra & Jim McNeely (DaCapo DCCD 9446)
Group Therapy--Jim McNeely Tentet (OmniTone 15101)
The Power and the Glory—The DRJO & Jim McNeely (Storyville 101 4250)
The DRJO and Jim McNeely Play Bill Evans (Stunt 02042)
Jim McNeely Trio—In This Moment (Stunt 02142)
Paul Klee—The Swiss Jazz Orchestra & Jim McNeely (Mons 874 399)
Dedication Suite—The Danish Radio Big Band & Jim McNeely (Cope 122)
Up from the Skies—w/The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra (Planet Arts 100454)
Boneyard—(w/Kelly Sill, Joel Spencer) (Origin 82473)
A Single Sky—w/Dave Douglas and the Frankfurt Radio Big Band (Greenleaf Music)
Quest for Freedom—w/David Liebman, Richie Beirach, and the Frankfurt Radio Big Band (Sunnyside SSC1266)
Barefoot Dances and other Visions—w/Frankfurt Radio Big Band (Planet Arts 301721)

Selected Other Recordings:
Thad Jones/Mel Lewis, Body and Soul (West Wind 2048)
Mel Lewis & the Jazz Orch., Plays Bob Brookmeyer Compositions (Gryphon G912)
Mel Lewis & the Jazz Orch., Naturally (Telarc 10044)
Mel Lewis & the Jazz Orch., Live at Montreaux (PA/USA 7115)
Mel Lewis & the Jazz Orch., Make Me Smile (Finesse FW 37987)
Mel Lewis Quintet, Mellifluous (Gatemouth 1006)
Bob Brookmeyer, Through a Looking Glass (Finesse FW 37488)
Stan Getz Quartet, Pure Getz (Concord CJ 188)
Stan Getz, The Stockholm Concert
Stan Getz, Blue Skies (ConcordJazz CCD-4676)
Stan Getz/Chet Baker, Quintessence ,vol. 1 (ConcordJazz CCD 4807-2)
Rufus Reid Trio, Seven Minds (Sunnyside SSC 1010)
David Liebman, Homage to Coltrane (Owl 046)
David Liebman, Time Line (Owl 054)
George Robert Jazztet, Remember the Sound (TCoB28932)
Phil Woods Little Big Band, Real Life (Chesky JD47)
Duo w/Phil Woods, Flowers for Hodges (Concord CCD 4485)
Phil Woods Quintet, Full House (Milestone 9196-2)
Phil Woods Quintet, You and the Night and the Music (Venus 79038)
Phil Woods Quartet/Quintet, The 20th Anniversary Album (Mosaic 159)
Phil Woods Quintet, An Affair to Remember (Evidence 22125-2)
Phil Woods Quintet, Plays the Music of Jim McNeely (TCoB95402)
Phil Woods Quintet, Souvenirs (Evidence 22177-2)
Judy Niemack/Danish Radio Big Band, New York Stories (Sunnyside SSC1515)
Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, The Thad Jones Legacy (New World80581-2)
Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Can I Persuade You? (Planet Arts 1001)
Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, The Way (Planet Arts)
Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Monday Night Live at the Village Vanguard (Planet Arts)
Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Over Time (Planet Arts)