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Bring it on

OK, I think I’ve just about posted that Moogfest video everywhere I could…. I will be posting the second half (with Herb Deutsch) next week (when I get a minute!). Made some site changes; news posted on the NAILMUSIC site. Notice the date calendar in the sidebar here.

I’m trying to get more summer dates for us. Doing that has its own specific challenges, however, as I try to work around the very busy schedules of my two great musicians. (I think) I wish I could offer them so much work they wouldn’t have to do anything else… But even that I’m sure would come with it’s own set of challenges. Only one thing I can say about all that….

“BRING IT ON!!!!!”

peace out –

NAIL

Moogfest 2007

NAIL at Moogfest 2007 (part 1 of 2)
httpv://youtube.com/watch?v=1qhmfp-NPJc

New video uploaded! This proves that this great show was not just my imagination.

A moment to reflect

Hey…..

Gosh, been busy. Here at SUNY Purchase Conservatory of dance, occasionally “nothing” happens, and I get a 90 minute “break in the action”. A chance to write! Anyway, killin weekend; solo show at 2 Alices was a hit from my perspective (meaning technologically). In reality, only about 6 people showed up. But the system works, and with a few refinements I’ll be ready to KICK some SERIOUS ASS Germany in the fall.

NAIL played sunday afternoon at the waterfront for the newburgh Jazz-a-thon. 2 hours – really freakin’ fun!! Played a lot of music, but didn’t get to all the things I wanted to play….

Interesting that, because some tunes we just never get to, even though they’re easy ones. I realized something important about myself – I’m so self conscious and self critical on the bandstand I won’t call a tune I’m not sure about. In short, I tend to play it safe. My gut feeling is that a safe approach doesn’t fully serve the music. I also think I let the fact that it was considered a “jazz” event color my choices of music. Hmmm….. something to work on.

No matter – band sounds better than ever. Chris Vander Essen (DJ Cheshire Cat) and his buddy Mike from Beacon Videotaped/Audio recorded the set; They were very happy about the way it came out. I can’t wait to post it on youtube. I’ll get it up there ASAP; along with the video from Moogfest 2007 which I just recently obtained thanks to VINNIE the Video Guy – friend of Gregg Bendian (Mahavishnu Project Drummer). Vinnie’s an awesome guy, smart and generous, and is seriously into the archive thing.

Things are hopping around here. Major editing jobs have been done and are being done, compositions for dance, new dates added all the time, more solo shows, etc. I am going to compile a list of the the websites we’re on; there’s quite a lot at this time.

Meanwhile, here’s a photo from yesterday (sunday). Picture by Frank Ostrander.
NAIL at the Newburgh Jazz A thon

Thanks to everyone who came out! Great to see you all, glad you enjoyed the music. See you June 26th at Cafe Mozart. Peace, y’all!

Good CD press, April 2008

 This just in, from ROLL MAGAZINE in the Hudson Valley. It’s not on their website yet, and I don’t have th author credit, but here it is:

Neil Alexander & NAIL
Tugging At The Infinite

CD Review From Roll Magazine, April 2008

Proudly proclaiming that there is “No electric guitar on this record”, Neil Alexander strikes a blow for keyboardists everywhere, armed with a rack of synth modules and his trusty hand held controller. With prodigious chops, chordal vocabulary and supple support from local jazz favorites Charlie Kniceley, T Xiques, and Nadav Snir-Zelniker, among others, Alexander’s instrumentals cover considerable ground between 70’s Jeff Beck, Bitches Brew-style jazz jam and John Carpenter movie soundtracks. Plus the inevitable guitar-sound-on-a-keyboard thing. www.nailmusic.com.

Neil Alexander & NAIL with guest Lillie Howard

Neil Alexander & NAIL with guest Lillie Howard

This Showed up in the paper on Monday, with this article:
Times Herald Record Article

Needless to say, I was pretty pleased. Thanks to Barbara Bedrell, and Times Herald Record and special thanks and Kudos to Aquanetta Wright, the self proclaimed “Ferry Godmother” of Newburgh, and the producer of the Newburgh Jazz series. She’s making it happen for us in Newburgh – go Aquanetta!!

Living a Dream

So – for those of you who have wondered what kinds of things I’ve been up to since leaving “the Machine”, I offer the following as a shining example. I’m living a dream: making original cutting edge music 24/7. I’ll focus on the last 10 days as a perfect example.
Wed. April 2nd: The second MAHAVISHNU PROJECT date at the Iridium in NYC was a smash. As an added bonus I got to meet the great writer, Bill Milkowski. The friday and monday following I had rehearsals for an upcoming dance performance (see below); Wednesday April 9th brought a quick jazz gig for the Intermediate school in Goshen NY with bassist Bill Crow and trombonist Eddie Bert, two legends of jazz. Thursday April 10th NAIL performed at an Orange County Press Conference celebrating Jazz Appreciation Month; singer Lillie Howard was a guest (look for YouTube videos to be uploaded soon). Friday April 11th I had a Jazz trio gig at Café Mozart in Mamaroneck NY with Nadav Z and Dave Ruffles. This group has been hitting steady since the beginning of the year, and is really coming along. Then Saturday Night April 12th was the SUNY Purchase Downtown Cabaret; I performed as part of the Dance Conservatory set of 5 pieces, all by different choreographers. I worked with Cori Kresgi, using the “Logical Oscillator” rig (laptop, controllers, synth). Packed house; great response. I should mention that another choreographer for Downtown Cabaret called me Thursday; her musician could not complete the score, and could I give her something? So Friday afternoon in between SUNY classes and a rehearsal for Cori K (about 2 hours) I composed, recorded, edited and mixed to CD an 8 minute original score. Whew! Her piece was performed Friday night. (So I guess I was in 2 places at once….?) I will post both scores at some point, with links in this blog.

 

All in all, 10 days of serious music making in a diversity of styles. That’s all I ever wanted. (Nice to get paid for doing it, too.) More? I say: “Bring it!” Tomorrow I start work on a 20 minute edit for choreographer Kevin Wynn, to be performed at the SUNY Spring Dance Concert (2 weeks!). Time to hit the software.
As always, thanks for listening.

 

– the NAIL

Funny or not?

From Pete Levin’s website:

Did you hear the one about the jazz musician who won 1/2 a million dollars in the lottery?
An interviewer asked him what his plans were.
He said he’d just keep on gigging until the money was gone.

Return to the future

Back in 1971, the future of music was a hybrid of Rock, Jazz and Classical. Alot of groups were doing various combinations of things; prog rock combined classical and rock, for example. But for my money, the forefront of this movement was a band called the Mahavishnu Orchestra. The music was called “Fusion”.

Run by guitarist John McLaughlin, the M.O. pushed the limits of what was possible for a live band to do. The writing, performing and recordings were second to none. If you’ve never heard of them, you owe it to yourself to check them out. They helped define the music of a generation – my generation. Learn HERE.

Right around 11th grade in High School, we got the “book”. This was the McLaughlin Book – containing, in score form, the first four albums of the Mahavishnu Orchestra. My musician friends and I in high school spent many, many – I mean many – hours, working through every inch of that book. Trying every tune; re-arranging things, re-orchestrating, and just having an incredible time of it all. I learned a lot from that experience. I continued to play this music with whoever I could find for the next 18 years, often playing to empty room after empty room and getting turned down for gigs left and right. Seemed like no one wanted to hear this music. “Fusion” had become a “dirty” word. Too bad.

I finally walked away from that sound & style in 1997, concentrating on finding my voice in a new world. This finally happened in 2005, when I had a Eureka moment, and I realized how I could combine all my diverse influences into one thriving, growing musical unit – NAIL.

But – life isn’t finished throwing those wonderful curves yet. Through a convoluted series of events which included 10 years on the road with “the Machine” (those who know me know about that), I find myself receiving a phone call from Gregg Bendian, drummer and bandleader of a group called – and here’s where it gets interesting – the “Mahavishnu Project“. Well, having practically lived and breathed this music for so many years, I jumped at the chance. We’ve played 2 shows so far; I can only describe the experience as surreal. Going back and playing this stuff – it fells like I’m falling backwards through time. But the audience is there – now more then ever, perhaps, as new generations discover this (what I always thought of as amazing) music.

Anyway, enough rambling for now – I will keep you all posted.

As always, thanks for listening –

-NAIL

Post videos? Ok, cool

So – I’m new to the whole wordpress thing. Still. I just changed my “theme”, and I’m liking the new one.

I also like this new plugin that let’s me post videos from you tube. like this one:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oEqrGBknBmg

Pretty cool, eh? FYI, this is our most watched video on You tube.

See ya!