The Jazz: FREDDIE JACOBS QUARTET – KENSHA

FREDDIE JACOBS QUARTET – KENSHA

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FFHJBUtsX0

From a recent jazz gig with Trumpeter Freddie Jacobs. This guy has been a great influence on my jazz playing. Featured here are myself (pno), Freddie (tpt), Cameron Brown (bass) and Bob Meyer (dms), another cat who has been extremely supportive and helpful to me. It’s a pleasure to work with them, and they have made me feel at home in the world of traditional Jazz as I never had before.
This was recorded at The Falcon in Marlboro NY, on April 25th 2009. Enjoy. 🙂

Set List Archive

Archived set lists – for the curious

Neil Alexander & NAIL @ Newburgh Illuminated – 6/3/17

(At The) Water’s Edge – Twist & Shout – When You Know – 17 Seconds/Earlier Still – Shenandoah – Everyman

 

Mr. Gone @ Maxfields on Main – 1/29/14

SET 1: Gibraltar – Butterfly – Mr Gone – Havona – Dream Clock – Palladium – Night Passage

SET 2: Watermelon Man – Harlequin – Sightseeing/Pinocchio – Scarlet Woman – Lusitanos – In A Silent Way/Directions

 

Mr. Gone @ Somethin’ Jazz – 10/15/13

[One Set]: Mr Gone  – Palladium – Lusitanos – Harlequin – Butterfly – Sightseeing – Sax & Piano duo – Gibraltar – Night Passage

 

Mr. Gone @ San Severia – 7/10/13

SET 1: Gibraltar – Dream Clock – Butterfly – Palladium – Mr. Gone – Havona – Scarlett Woman

SET 2: In A Silent Way / Watermelon Man – Harlequin – Night Passage

 

Mr. Gone @ Newburgh Jazz Series –  7/10/13

SET 1: Gibraltar – Dream Clock – Butterfly – Palladium – Mr. Gone – Havona

SET 2: In A Silent Way / Watermelon Man – Harlequin – Night Passage – Lusitanos – Directions

 

Mr. Gone @ Trumpets – 4/26/13

SET 1: Pinocchio – Gibraltar – Dream Clock – Scarlet Woman – Havona – Night Passage

SET 2: Percussion Jam – Palladium – Harlequin – Silent Way/ Directions

 

PDOG RECORDS PRESENTS!

This is the NAILBlog home of “Pdog Presents“, the embeded video from our  Concert page on Ustream.tv.

Here you can watch our concert stream, leave comments (please!), join in a live chat and even contribute to the cause of free live music. Our next show is June 15, and is part of our ongoing HOUSE CONCERT SERIES, this time with Neil Alexander & Russ Sargeant. The stream will go live at approx 6:30 pm. I hope you’ll join us! And if you like what you see, please hit us with a small donation of your choosing. Just hit the “TipIt” button in the upper left hand corner of your screen… and thanks. 🙂

Free TV : Ustream

You can visit the Ustream Page Here.

Online Sessions

Piano/Synthesizer/Keyboard Tracks

Modern technology is a wonderful thing. With it, I have the ability to do “remote sessions”. If you need keyboard tracks for your project, I can now deliver these to you in any file format you require.

I’ve also done complete scores & soundtracks; I’ve scored film, and composed quite a bit for Modern Dance & Theater. If you need finished, broadcast-ready soundtracks, lovingly customized to your specifcations, well you’ve come to the right place!*

Simply send me a message from the contact form below, and after we’ve discussed the details you can send me your basic trax by either submitting them to my Soundcloud dropbox below, or directly to my inbox (after we’ve reached an agreement concerning pricing etc.). We can also discuss your needs over skype or video chat. Payment is by PayPal.

I am very proud to be able to offer you – the music makers, film producers, soundtrack-needers, songwriters, record producers etc – everything from keyboard tracks to complete works that can really make your project shine!

Here are some examples of my work. Contact me if you have any questions.

The NAIL Sampler by nailmusic

*for REALLY big projects, full length films, etc., contact me. We’ll tawk. 🙂

    My Experiences in a Tribute Band, Part 1: All the way ‘Round

    (For a more detailed history of the Tribute Band phenomenon, visit the Wikepedia site here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tribute_bands)

    Neil with The Machine in NY CIty

    Once upon a time, there were bands. Bands that broke BIG – we’re talking tremendously, phenomenomly big. Huger than huge. Bands like…. Led Zepplin… The Beatles… Pink Floyd… Van Halen…. The Police… (insert favorite GIANT rockstar band name here). As time went on, concert ticket prices for these groups reached astronomical levels – assuming you could get a ticket at all. It didn’t happen in all cases; and there was certainly a time in every band’s life when it could be seen for cheap, before they broke really really big.
    But then, the unthinkable happened: the group broke up (curse them…)!, or simply stopped touring, or (as previously mentioned) became prohibitively epensive. And this created a vacuum, a “hole in space” (one of my favorite phrases).

    Now during the time these bands were producing their primary body of work, young musicians (like…myself!) were learning how to play. Although some of these newbies focused on their originality, hordes and hordes of us learned by imitation: by learning the songs, licks, and the playing styles of the folks we listened to.

    I remember clearly when “Dark Side of the Moon” came out – I learned the whole record, learned about echo tricks used, about arranging… it was the moment in which I said ‘THIS is what I want to do with my life – to be a musician, make records, etc’ “

    In my own musical coming of age, I was devoted to performing original music and have since I started my first group “A. Animal” in 1978. But I had learned – and still know – many hundreds of songs by other bands – and not limited to rock (the Pat Metheny Group album is one in particular).

    Playing songs we knew was always great fun, especially if everyone knew them. You could play lots of music with little or no rehearsal, or effort of any kind. Mostly we played this stuff for ourselves; I have plenty of old cassettes of us playing tunes like “Larks Tounges part 2” (King Crimson), “Arriving UFO” (Yes),”Dogs” (Pink Floyd), or even things like Stratus (Billy Cobham) or “Timeless” (John Abercrombie). We knew these songs and would play them for fun at parties, and work some of them into our setlists on gigs.

    Meanwhile I had to earn a living: I started playing dance classes (which I continue to this day), and eventually got into a wedding band in 1990 (I left the wedding band in 95 before I got truly sick at heart). A. Animal finally disbanded in 1994… Around the same time I responded to an ad – for a keyboard player – in a (hmmm…) Pink Floyd Tribute Band called “The Machine”. Well, I needed work, plus I knew I could do that gig with my eyes closed. So I answered the ad. They asked me one question: “Do you have a sampler?” At the time, I did not. They didn’t pay very much (less then the wedding band, by more than 1/2), so I let it go and started to look for other things. (I also started working on my 1st solo CD “Alone At Last”, but that’s another story…)

    Then, about a year after that I got a phone call from the Machine, wanting to know if I was still interested. I said yes, a session was arranged, and I spent the next 10 years touring with these gentlemen, and learning more about the music biz then I think you could ever learn elsewhere.

    PART 2: A 10 year tour and more…

    The Grand Diversity

    Another Startling year in music comes to a close (nearly). A quick overview of 2008…
    In the Big theater at the PAC for the SUNY Purchase nutcracker warmup class

    In the Big theater at the PAC for the SUNY Purchase nutcracker warmup class

    What an amazing year it’s been, fer sure. Started with some of my compositions selected for a dance being performed in Singapore, choreographed by one of our Conservatory faculty, Stephanie Tooman. She chose 3 pieces from my back catalog; I edited the tracks together and the piece was performed in May. Around the same time I was called in to do a last minute editing job for another faculty choreographer, the wonderful Kevin Wynn. He was working with music by composer Tania Leon for the Purchase Dance Corps Spring Show, and needed editing. It ended up as a killer 20 minute remix. Tania was thrilled and hired me to do live vocal remixing on an upcoming project (currently on hold due to finances).

    In March I also performed in something called “Downtown Cabaret”, which is a live performance/art festival featuring folks from all parts of SUNY Purchase. I wrote music for 2 choreographers, one of which was perfomed live by myself on computer and synth.

    Neil's computer rig

    Neil's computer rig

    The trend of working with choreography students continues – I’ve done quite a few this year alone, probably more than I’ve done in the 17 years I’ve ben there. One of those pieces was a Steve Reich-style composition for 4 marimbas, piano and percussion. I performed it live with a piano, syntheszer and prerecorded tracks.

    In July I was hired by Lane Gifford to write and produce original music and remixes for a piece in the Fringe Festival in NYC, which recieved rave reviews. I also got a chance to collaborate with my longtime partner Nita Rae on some punk rock-ish music that she wrote for another choreographer, Ofelia Loret de Mola. This piece (Available Space) was performed in NYC for an entire week, outdoors in City Hall Park across the street from the Brooklyn Bridge. Some very strange coincedental things happened around that performance, to numerous to go into here.

    We decided to call it "Kildoza"...

    We decided to call it "Kildoza"...

    The Dance portion of the program wraps with me being hired again to make music for the Singapore exchange project. This time it’s original music for Piano, Cello, and prerecorded sounds.

    In another universe closely intersecting with the one just described, I’ve been doing a ton of jazz gigs. That’s right, the all acoustic “straight ahead” variety, culminating with my being in the house band for the Peekskill Jazz Jam session hosted by Bob Meyer, for 11 weeks in a row. I’ve been playing jazz for a long time, but over 11 weeks I’ve personally reached new and fantastic musical heights I had only dreamed of before, never having the right circumstances to “go the distance” as I knew I could. It’s been extraordinarily wonderful. Bob and bassist John “X” Ray are the real deal, having played with everyone from Woody Herman and Buddy Rich to Joe Lovano and John Abercrombie (to name a few). We’re talking serious shit here, folks.

    Also back in March I joined the Mahavishnu Project. I’ve only done 4 shows with them so far, but all tremendously fun, exciting and challenging. Great music & musicians; I”ve written about them in previous posts. There will be more shows in the future.

    And of course, NAIL continues. We played fewer shows in 2008, but they were BETTER. The band continues to exceed my expectations. Now with the addition of Markus Payne Management, we’re putting our energies into breaking into the international Jazz Festival Circuit for 09. I’m putting 110% of my energy into this – it will happen.

    Current Press Pic by George Dubose
    Current Press Pic by George Dubose

    Many other things have happened along the way, and continue to happen. Since leaving The Machine, it’s been a slow ramp up and a long time coming – but the flood gates have been opened. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    I Love you all – take care of yourselves.

    – Neil

    Ask Me Again, I’ll tell you the same

    From our 9/28/08 show at Keegan Ales in Kingston NY, it’s the first of 3 clips I’ve gotten up on YouTube. This is “Ask Me Again”, a relatively new tune (last 6 months). It crosses the line between rock and jazz in what is to me a very appealing way; the backbeat is strong, even with the many time signature changes, and the harmony is all “post-bop”. In my mind it walks the line between Joe Zawinul and Alan Holdsworth, showing what those two giants have in common. Steller performances from Charlie & Nadav make this a standout. We also had fun hooking up the s-video output of the laptop into the bar’s projector, and viola! Instant light show.

    Thanks for watching. I will post some “serious” stuff soon, for real. Lots going on, the big thing of which was spending a month looking for a car (which we found, yesterday). Enjoy, and thanks!

    httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4tHi_RHoW8M

    The stage at last night’s show: 9/27, Benji & Jakes

    The stage from Benji & Jakes. I suppose someone should actually take a picture of us PLAYING. That would be novel.

    Wonder Wheel

    Whirlwind! Working day and night; tons of gigs, etc. Fried. Can’t stop.

    Meanwhile…..

    Posted an old video…. “Wonder Wheel” from 2005. Seeing as how our old friend and drummer Mike “Leroy” Bram has sorta hit the big time with Jason Mraz, I thought I’d post this clip of him playing…with us.

    Here it is:

    httpv://youtube.com/watch?v=N5C89mUxw38

    Also in this band are Joe Pelletier (bass), Steve Sacco (percussion); and Chris Hanson (turntables). A funk extravaganza. Just picture the giant Ferris Wheel in London. I think there used to be one in Coney Island actually called the “Wonder Wheel”.

    More posts soon…really.

    Love ya –

    – NAIL

    My Musical Life. Reinvented.

    So.

    Here we are, June 2008 – almost July… that sweet sweet summer air. Wearing shorts – every day. And working – always working. And even a bit – though just a little here and there – of relaxing.

    It’s been 2 years and 3 months since I made the conscious choice to rework, to take control of – to reinvent my life. It’s still (and I suspect it will continue to be) a work-in-progress. That’s a good thing. It enables me to roll with changes and adapt to different ways of working, different mindsets. The work situation has really come around (after an abysmal winter/early spring). I have students again, after a long time without; commissions from Choreographers; some session work, lots of acoustic jazz gigs – and of course the main event, Neil Alexander & NAIL. Too few gigs for my taste this summer. All the other work is definitely awesome. But I know how great the band can be. Our gig Thursday at Cafe Mozart in Mamaroneck was nothing short of pure magick for me.

    I have been applying myself towards the band’s marketing; trying to come up with a significant tag line and one sentence description that really resonates with me. It continues to elude me for now… but I am spiraling in, I can feel it. Synchronistic events are building around me, around my intention. As is said. where your put your attention, energy follows. I am putting 150% percent into the band, and the energy certainly comes back at least as far as our shows are concerned. I have also been working on my open mindedness; letting go of fear on the bandstand Obviously, I don’t want to “suck”, but for real magic to happen there needs to be a certain level of spontaneity. You can’t rehearse that, but you can be in the right frame of mind. I have a huge sonic arsenal at my disposal, samples, multiple synths, etc. I found I was actually afraid to use them, sticking to my few “primary sounds”. I think this is in part to being nervous about the band – having to cue them, making sure we’re at the same place in the music, the “right” feel (this can change – thats the spontaneity I was referring to), etc. I guess it’s also about me being comfortable on stage, letting my imagination go. BUT NOW – the band is so together, so on the same page. Nadav Zelniker and Charlie Kniceley – the magick really happens with these cats, to an extraordinary degree. I find myself and the group in that ever-so-exciting uncharted territory, where anything can happen musically. It’s a place I think most musicians dream about. I know I sure have. Point is, I was so comfortable on Thursday night I found myself using sounds and samples I hadn’t used in months. And playing things differently – old tunes taking on completely new life, in the most wonderful way. I was ecstatic. The audience could feel it too. We were on fire – breaking new ground, forging and working our truly original sound.

    I should mention that for me personally, there are other factors at play. Making a continuous conscious choice to be positive. Staying in the moment (day to day, all the time). And learning finally to believe in myself, in whatever project I’m involved in. It’s really starting to add up.

    Another factor is a book I just read. I can’t stress the personal significance of this book for me. It’s not that it’s “so great” (it actually is, but….), but it helped me reconnect with a part of myself that I had all but forgotten. I actually did forget, for many years. When I remembered, I think I only remembered what happened – not how I felt. This book brought me back and helped me reconnect with how I felt at a specific time in my life – a time of infinite possibility and connection.

    And then a remarkable event took place in my mind – I was able to connect a lot of dots, of lot of disparate elements of my life, taking a great step towards a cohesive whole. I’d done it with music. Now it’s time to hook up the rest of my experiences. This completeness, along with a new-found level of musical trust and openess, is why I think we excelled on Thursday. It was so happening, I find myself relaxing – even though we don’t have that many shows, I’m less worried. It’s an awesome feeling.

    As for the aforementioned book, I’m going to save it’s description, as well as it’s significance for me, for another post… Trust me, I’ll get to it.

    For now, a new slogan has emerged: THIS BAND BLOWS MINDS. (A takeoff on Woody Guthrie’s “this machine kills fascists” sticker on his guitar.)

    Ok World – NAIL is here.

    I love you all – be well!