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Beneath a grand piano taking up most of a Brooklyn apartment bedroom, a teenage Neil Alexander lay in bed realizing that music was his only option in life. 20 years later, with over a dozen recording credits to his name and a major motion picture titled "The Blur Of Insanity" with his score about to be released, he continues to find challenge and excitement in all things music. He is equally at home in the wolrds of Jazz, Rock, Funk, Classical, Theater and Modern Dance; has toured extensively with variouys groups including the now famous Pink Floyd Tribute band called "The Machine," and at the same time continues to push his original band "Nail," a blend of jazz, funk and fusion.
After being dubbed "the loudest musician in high school" for cranking up his Fender Rhodes beyond any reasonable level, Neil decided to start his own group. People said he played "like an animal," so he called his band "A. Animal". This strange and unusual blend of Rock and Roll, Killer Jazz fusion and Ornette Coleman – like avante garde lasted about 2 years out of High School. When the band broke up, he began to search for ways to make money. Before too long he found himself in the world of dance, where he continues to work successfully to this day. Credits include two grants from "Meet the Composer" while working for the dance company "Soundance" (1986-7), as well as composing numerous works for Choreographers Allison Jolly and Wendy Garton. He also became the preferred accompanist for Donald Byrd, Lenore Latimer, and others; and is currently accompanying classes at S.U.N.Y. Purchase Conservatory of Dance with a stylistic range that includes Limon, Cunningham, Grahm, Horton, Hawkins, Ballet, and Improvisation.
Through working with various dance companies, he met longtime friend and drummer Mike Cullens, with whom he formed two successful jazz – funk bands: "Solid Juice" with NY session bassist Glenn Grant and "General Disturbance" with bass virtuosi Wayne Hammond.
As a result of his new-found ability to work as a musician within other performing art forms (and a chance meeting with master saxophonist Charles Haynes at a solo performance in Park Slope, Brooklyn) he acquired the position of Musical Director with the "Adaptors Movement Theater" (1983-7). For the Adaptors he co-composed two full length off-broadway shows. The troupe toured Mexico, Canada and the U.S., and Neil prepared a multi-channel ambient sound setup for "Dig ’85," an installation in the Brooklyn Museum (1985). He has continued to work in theater, most recently as Musical Director/Keyboardist for the Centerfield Productions’ dramatic concert tribute titled "Comfortably Numb," based on Pink Floyd’s "The Wall". "Comfortably Numb" toured the eastern U.S. (1994-5). In 1996 he performed (on keyboards) all orchestral arrangements in a recent production of "Jesus Christ Superstar" featuring well known Broadway actors and actresses.
Despite his forays in to dance and theater, Neil continues to maintain strictly musical formats as a working professional pianist/keyboardist. In 1986, much to his (and everyone else’s) surprise, A. Animal reformed with it’s original lineup of Louis Magliente (drums) and Conrad De La Cruz (bass). They played and toured for 8 years but only produced one recording, "Overhaul" (1990) produced by Robert Musso. In 1990 he began to play "club dates" and in an effort to be doing something worthwhile, joined various local rock bands. When Conrad left the band in 1993, he kept A. Animal alive as a duo for another year, and then retired to his studio to record his 1996 release "Alone At Last," which showcases his composition and arranging skills as well as his flair for production and engineering. Produced with long time production partners Nita Rae and Ryan Ball, his solo performances on this CD comprise a sonic journey - an instrumental set of music performed primarily by Neil with many special guests.
Some of his other contacts were beginning to pay off: Long time friend Peter Wetherbee called him in to play all keyboards on Funkadelic founder Tal Ross’s CD "Detrimental Vasoline/Giant Shirley" (CGRC). The recording credits began to add up: appearances on the works of local artists Frank 'O The Mountain, Mirror, Virginia Dare and most recently 4Front, featuring drummer Joe Bergamini. In 1996 he joined The Machine, a well known tribute band, and played on all of their CD’s as well.
Over the years he has recorded and/or performed with a variety of groups and artists such as Gunther Hampel’s jazz ensemble "Time is Now", Charles Haynes, Erik Lawrence and others. He has performed Igor Stravinsky’s "Sacre du Printempts (the Rite of Spring)", as well as works by Charles Ives and John Cage.
In 1995, Neil began to teach master classes in analog synthesizer programming and midi performance applications at the S.U.N.Y. Purchase Music Conservatory as part of the Studio Composition Program. He now also conducts music store and high school clinics in sampling, technology and performing.