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Jim McNeely

leader

Up from the Skies
Jim McNeely w/The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra

2006
Paul Klee
The Swiss Jazz Orchestra & Jim McNeely

2006
MORE INFO...
Boneyard
McNeely/Sill/Spencer

2006
MORE INFO...
Dedication Suite
The Danish Radio Big Band & Jim McNeely

2006
Renee Rosnes with the Danish Radio Big Band
Jim McNeely

2003
In This Moment
Jim McNeely Trio

2003
MORE INFO...
The DRJO and Jim McNeely Play Bill Evans
The DRJO & Jim McNeely

2002
The Power and the Glory
The DRJO & Jim McNeely

2001
Group Therapy
Jim McNeely Tentet

2001
Nice Work
The Danish Radio Jazz Orchestra & Jim McNeely

2000
MORE INFO...
Sound Bites
Jim McNeely w/Stockholm Jazz Orchestra & Dick Oatts

1997
Lickity Split-The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra Plays the Music of Jim McNeely
Jim McNeely

1997
Jim McNeely at Maybeck (Vol. 20)
Jim McNeely

1992
Jigsaw
Jim McNeely w/Stockholm Jazz Orch.

1991
Winds of Change
Jim McNeely

1989
East Coast Blow Out
Jim McNeely /W. German Radio Big Band

1989
MORE INFO...
From the Heart
Jim McNeely

1984
East Side, West Side
Jim McNeely

1980
The Plot Thickens
Jim McNeely

1979
Rain's Dance
Jim McNeely

1976

sideman

Over Time
Vanguard Jazz Orchestra

2014
Remember the Sound
George Robert Jazztet

2009
Live at the Jazz Showcase
Bob Lark/Phil Woods Quintet

2009
Monday Night Live at the Village Vanguard
Vanguard Jazz Orchestra

2008
That Being Said
DePaul University Jazz Ensemble

2008
Suggestions
Bob Lark & Friends

2007
Blue Nights
Judy Niemack

2007
CU Over the Rainbow
University of Colorado Jazz Ensemble I

2006
Another Song
Thomas Fryland Quartet & Jim McNeely

2006
The Subway Ballet
Randy Sandke

2006
Live From Studio A
Various Artists

2006
In Her Eyes
Bob Lark/Phil Woods Quintet

2006
Speaking of Stan
Mark Colby

2005
Grace
Deborah Weisz

2005
The Way
Vanguard Jazz Orchestra

2004
CU: ‘Round Midnight
University of Colorado Jazz Ensemble I

2004
Concord Records 30th Anniversary
Various Artists

2003
Until You
Bob Lark

2003
Tempus Fugit
Stan Getz

2002
Can I Persuade You?
Vanguard Jazz Orchestra

2002
Definitive Chet Baker
Chet Baker

2002
You and the Night and the Music
Phil Woods Quintet

2002
Hiding in Plain Sight
Scott Whitfield

2001
I Am the Walrath
Jack Walrath

2000
The Birdland Sessions
Garrison Fewell

2000
Demons in Persuit
Jack Walrath

2000
Two Shades of Blue
Ed Byrne

2000
I Got Rhythm
Jamey Aebersold

2000
The Thad Jones Legacy
Vanguard Jazz Orchestra

1999
Quintessence, vol. 1
Stan Getz/Chet Baker

1999
Quintessence, vol. 2
Stan Getz/Chet Baker

1999
Lazy Afternoon
Lisa Sokolov

1999
The Morgan Powell Jazz Album
Morgan Powell

1999
Works for Jazz Orchestra
NYU Concert Jazz Ensemble

1999
Joyful Noise: A Tribute to Duke Ellington
Don Sebesky

1999
Open Door
Oliver Peters Sextet

1999
The Greatest Jazz Standards
Various Artists

1999
Ram Records Jazz Sampler
Various Artists

1999
Awakening
Randy Sandke

1998
Live at Jazz Club Fasching
Various Artists

1997
Breaking Up, Breaking Out
The Deborah Weisz Quartet & Jim McNeely

1997
A Billy Strayhorn Songbook
Various Artists

1997
Souvenirs
Phil Woods Quintet

1997
An Irving Berlin Songbook
Various Artists

1997
With My Heart in a Song
Francesca Sortino

1997
The Road Ahead
Steve LaSpina

1997
A Gershwin Songbook
Various Artists

1997
New York Legends
Joe Alessi

1996
Plays the Music of Jim McNeely
Phil Woods Quintet

1996
The Carnegie Hall Jazz Band
The Carnegie Hall Jazz Band

1996
Body and Soul
Thad Jones/Mel Lewis

1995
The 20th Anniversary Album
Phil Woods Quartet/Quintet

1995
Three Houses
Tom Boras

1994
An Affair to Remember
Phil Woods Quintet

1993
Angel Radio
Lisa Sokolov

1993
Triste
Nick Brignola Quintet & Doug Sertl Big Band

1992
The 1992 Stash Sampler
Various Artists

1992
JVC Jazz Festival Live! A Night of Chesky Jazz: Town Hall, New York
Various Artists

1992
Touch of Class
Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra

1992
Flowers for Hodges
Duo w/Phil Woods

1991
Full House
Phil Woods Quintet

1991
To You: A Tribute to Mel Lewis
Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra

1990
Ballads for Lulu
The Louis Smith Quartet

1990
Real Life
Phil Woods Little Big Band

1990
Quiet Storm
Marlene Ver Planck

1989
Time Line
David Liebman

1989
Dance for Andy
Mike Richmond

1989
Excursion in Blue
John Handy

1988
Nobody Else But Me
Lucky to Be Me

1988
Lucky to Be Me
Jackie Paris

1988
Love Songs
Jackie Paris

1988
Soft Lights and Hot Music
Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra

1988
Street of Dreams
Nancy Harrow

1988
Homage to Coltrane
David Liebman

1987
Pure and Natural
Marlene Ver Planck

1987
Into the Woods: the Best of Phil Woods
Phil Woods

1987
The Sandke Brothers
Randy Sandke

1986
20 Years at the Village Vanguard
The Mel Lewis Orchestra

1985
Seven Minds
Rufus Reid Trio

1984
Advance
Bobby Watson

1984
Northern Lights
Nick Brignola Quartet

1984
In Concert
Art Farmer/Slide Hampton

1984
The Stockholm Concert
Stan Getz

1983
Line for Lyons
Stan Getz & Chet Baker

1983
Picture in Three Colors
Eero Koivistoinen

1983
Things We Did Last Summer
John McNeil Quintet

1983
Make Me Smile
Mel Lewis & the Jazz Orchestra

1982
Blue Skies
Stan Getz

1982
Pure Getz
Stan Getz Quartet

1982
Live in Paris
Stan Getz Quartet

1982
Through a Looking Glass
Bob Brookmeyer

1981
Mellifluous
Mel Lewis Quintet

1981
Live at Montreaux
Mel Lewis & the Jazz Orchestra

1980
Two for the Road
Anne Marie Moss with Vivian Lord

1980
Plays Bob Brookmeyer Compositions
Mel Lewis & the Jazz Orchestra

1980
I Heard Mingus
Ted Curson

1980
Snake Johnson
Ted Curson

1980
Naturally
Mel Lewis & the Jazz Orchestra

1979
Modus Operandi
Chris Woods

1978
Golden Delicious
John Stowell

1977
Ted Curson and Co.
Ted Curson

1976
Eddie Watches Flo
David Luck

1967
Around the World For Lovers
Various Artists

Jazz Piano Essentials: The Music of Thelonious Monk
Various Artists

Dansk Stereo
Danish Radio Big Band

Jubilant Power
Ted Curson

Stan Getz Plays for Lovers
Stan Getz

Concord Records SACD Sampler, Vol. 1
Various Artists

Cool Jazz: The Essential Album
Various Artists

Jazz: Love Songs After Dark
Various Artists

Chesky Jazz Live
Various Artists

Playboy Jazz After Dark
Various Artists


June 2, 2017Frankfurt Radio Big Band ConcertsI just finished 2 great projects with the Frankfurt Radio Big Band. The first was with Dave Holland, followed by Gretchen Parlato. In some ways they are very different. But they both share a love for jazz, and for music; they are masterful musicians, and were an absolute pleasure to work with. I was fortunate to get the opportunity to arrange and conduct all the music for these two projects. Videos of both concerts are now available on the band's website. Click on "read more" to see them.
March 29, 2017Now Available: East Coast Blow OutIn 1989 I wrote a suite for John Scofield, Marc Johnson, Adam Nussbaum, myself, and the WDR Big Band. We recorded it in the old Annostrasse studio in Cologne. It came out on CD a couple of years later, under the name "East Coast Blow Out". I'd thought of calling it the "New York Blow Out" but Marc had recently moved from NYC to Virginia. Gotta be accurate, you know.

Scores and parts for all five of the pieces are now available for purchase in my store. They can be bought individually, or as a complete set. For further information go to the link below:

October 11, 201650 Years at the Village VanguardThere's a great book recently published covering the 50-year history of the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis/Mel Lewis/Vanguard Jazz Orchestra. Written by Dave Lisik and Eric Allen, it is the most comprehensive history of this great organization ever written. You can check it all out at:
October 31, 2014DownBeat ArticleDownBeat has published a "Workshop" article I wrote concerning re-harmonizing a melodic idea. The article could only contain a few of the possibilities I wrote. For more, click the link below.
January 3, 2012Ethan Iverson InterviewI've known Ethan Iverson since he was about 15; he's one of the most talented musicians I've ever known. In 2011 I did a project with the Frankfurt Radio Big Band featuring The Bad Plus. After our final concert we repaired to his hotel room. Ethan fired up his digital recorder, and he proceeded to interview me. We talked for a few hours. The results are now up in his blog, Do the Math. You can see it at
December 17, 2011Bob BrookmeyerIt's hard to describe all the things Bob Brookmeyer was to me: friend, mentor, idol, surrogate uncle, bandleader. He passed away the evening of Thursday, Dec. 15, 4 days shy of his 82nd birthday. Rest in peace, Bob. Jazz Times recently published a short piece I wrote about Bob. You can read it at

Jim McNeely was born in Chicago, and moved to New York City in 1975. 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 nine Grammy nominations. In 1996 he re-joined The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra as pianist and Composer-in Residence. He is also chief conductor of the Frankfurt Radio (HR) Big Band. Other recent work includes projects with the Danish Radio Big Band (where he was chief conductor for five years), the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, the Metropole Orchestra (Netherlands), the Swiss Jazz Orchestra, and the Stockholm Jazz Orchestra. The New York Times has called his writing "exhilarating"; DownBeat has said that his music is "eloquent enough to be profound".

Jim has appeared as sideman on numerous recordings led by major artists such as Thad Jones, Mel Lewis, Stan Getz, Bob Brookmeyer, David Liebman, Art Farmer, Robert Watson, and Phil Woods. He has numerous albums under his own name. The latest is "Up from the Skies", with the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra on the Planet Arts label ("concert jazz at its headiest"—DownBeat) .

Teaching is also an important element of Jim's work. He is currently on the faculties of both Manhattan School of Music and William Paterson University. He was Musical Director of the BMI Jazz Composers' Workshop from 1991-2015. He has appeared at numerous college jazz festivals as performer and clinician, and has been involved regularly with several summer workshops. He has also done clinics and major residencies at dozens of institutions in the U.S., Canada, Europe, China, Australia. New Zealand, and Egypt.

UP FROM THE SKIES

McNeely's arrangement of the Jimi Hendrix title track that opens the disc clearly demonstrates his ability to preserve the band's distinctive personality while exploring fresh sounds.Russ MustoAll About Jazz
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As usual, McNeely’s work is harmonically and texturally rich, the kind of music that offers something new on efavor of inventive, sophisticated composition for jazz orchestra.David FranklinJazzTimes
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CARNEGIE HALL JAZZ BAND

In the music's massed detail, one heard all points along the scale from corny to beautiful; the latter was represented by Jim McNeely's startling arrangement of ''I'm Getting Sentimental Over You.'' It began with one long, cloudlike note held by muted trombones and flutes, from which the melody trickled forth; the thick, soft brass arrangements of the piece, and its brief sequential passages for lone instruments, made a well-recognized tune exotic.Ben RatliffNew York Times
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Mr. McNeely's ''Future Past'' was about two ways big-band composers responded after be-bop: with the contained, chamber-music-tinged, misty pieces of Gil Evans and the muscle-flexing but harmonically far-reaching arrangements of Oliver Nelson and Thad Jones.Jon ParelesNew York Times
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But none of this truly gave a warning of what would happen when the soprano saxophonist Dave Liebman came out to perform "Let's Dance," and then "Sing, Sing, Sing." Mr. McNeely has completely rewritten these pieces, using Gil Evans as a guide. Big, airy brass chords floated above the rhythm section. The melodies were submerged under the gauzy textures of the arrangement. And occasionally Mr. McNeely quoted a voice that might have been from the original arrangement, hard, dense harmony that contrasted with the modernism he provided.Peter WatrousNew York Times
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McNeely's recasting of "Sing, Sing, Sing" contrasted sustained trombone melodies with angular intrusions and hints from other strains of the piece, and his arrangement utilized the call/resbrass - in a cataclysmic, post-modern fashion.George KanzlerThe Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ)
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The concert opened with Mr. McNeely's "Berlin Porter Overture," an extended piece that stacked song on song, with Mr. McNeely casting them differently each time. "Blue Skies," for example, became dissonant. Mr. McNeely had tempos and rhythms change for each composition, occasionally opening the tunes up to improvisations.Peter WatrousNew York Times
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But the concert's standout was Jim McNeely's arrangement of ''Matrix.'' The tune is a witty line for a 12-bar blues that Mr. Corea recorded in 1968. Thirty years later, he and Mr. McNeely kept turning it inside out: placing it in a one-chord meditation, having the band play parts of Mr. Corea's original solo as he improvised comebacks, finding new implications in the harmony.JON PARELESNew York Times
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Jim McNeely's arrangement of Louis Prima's ''Sing, Sing, Sing'' was close to brilliant, an imaginative mixture of strict, complicated section writing and devices that destabilized the orchestra in favor of small-band heat.Ben RatliffNew York Times
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LICKETY SPLIT

Equally engrossing, the music on Lickity Split teems with myriad attitudes. As it unfolds, it details the synchronicity between McNeely's arranging talent and his prowess as a composer.Jim MacnieDownbeat
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As boldly as its title suggests, "Lickety Split: The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra Plays the Music of Jim McNeely" (New World) takes our notions of how a jazz big band can and should sound and shakes the living lickety out of them. In fact, the last time the orchestral language of jazz received such a welcome jolt may have been when the famed Miles Davis-Gil Evans album "Miles Ahead" was released--and that was way back in 1957.Larry KartChicago Tribune
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This is certainly one of the most sophisticated and highly drilled big bands in the country, and Mr. McNeely stokes the fire with cerebral music, full of musicians' jokes and touches that come from Lewis's palette, like an affinity for muted brass and soprano saxophones.Ben RatliffNew York Times
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Jim McNeely, who having served as pianist during the band's transitional 1978-84 period returned to the fold in 1996, just in time to undertake this challenging project. The band's legendary, steady Monday night gig at the Village Vanguard is now in its 31st year, thereby outlasting the entire lifetimes of Bix Beiderbecke, Charlie Christian, Jimmy Blanton and Fats Navarro and almost those of Bunny Berigan and Charlie Parker.Jack SohmerJazzTimes
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Jim McNeely, their pianist and composer-in-residence. A Chicago native best known for his association with Stan Getz, he has quietly become one of the sharpest composers on the scene. Touched by the far-reaching classicism of Gil Evans, a restless exploratory quality informs his pieces.Lloyd SachsChicago Sun-Times
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GROUP THERAPY

OmniTone set McNeely up in the studio with an agile little big band and a chance to show off all his tuneful goods at once. McNeely, in turn, set the band loose on a host of his own wild originals and his creative rearrangements.Aaron SteinbergJazzTimes
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OTHER BIG BAND RECORDINGS

Pianist/composer Jim McNeely is a glorious exception. This five-part suite recorded in Cologne by the WDR Big Band - plus bassist Marc Johnson, drummer Adam Nussbaum and chief soloist, guitarist John Scofield - bristles with invention.Mark StrykerDayton Daily News
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Jim McNeely is a true composer. He doesn’t string together riffs or rehash tired licks, but produces works for jazz ensemble that are highly original and technically sophisticated.David FranklinJazzTimes
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Other Press

McNeely was an omnipresent force at this year's conference, both teaching and performing.International Musician
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Especially fine are his exploration of Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Zingaro," his chromatic stroll around the edges of "Body and Soul" and his pithy treatment of Monk's "Bye Ya" and Bud Powell's "Un Poco Loco."Jeff BradleyThe Denver Post
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McNeely plays the hell out of “In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning” for almost nine minutes, quietly, without repeating himself, in heartfelt single-note lines of genuine grace. Not bad for an arranger.Thomas ConradJazzTimes
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musicians

Randy Breckerhttp://www.randybrecker.com
Martin Windhttp://www.martinwind.com
Darcy J. Argue's Secret Societyhttp://secretsociety.typepad.com/
David Liebmanhttp://www.daveliebman.com
Rufus Reidhttp://www.rufusreid.com
Dave Douglashttp://www.davedouglas.com
Joseph C. Phillips, Jr./Numinoushttp://www.numinousmusic.com/
The Bad Plushttp://www.thebadplus.com/
John Hollenbeckhttp://www.johnhollenbeck.com
Maria Schneiderhttp://www.mariaschneider.com/

ensembles

The Metropole Orchestrahttp://www.metropoleorkest.nl/
Vanguard Jazz Orchestrahttp://www.vanguardjazzorchestra.com
Swiss Jazz Orchestrahttp://www.swissjazzorchestra.com
Frankfurt Radio Big Bandhttp://bit.ly/1H06XtL
Stockholm Jazz Orchestrahttp://www.stockholmjazzorchestra.se
OJM - Orquestra Jazz de Matosinhoshttp://www.ojm.pt

labels

TCBhttp://www.tcb.ch/home
Sunnyside Recordshttp://www.sunnysiderecords.com
OmniTonehttp://www.omnitone.com
Planet Artshttp://www.planetarts.org
Mons RecordsDefault Descriptionhttp://www.monsrecords.de/

websites

Jazz Cornerhttp://www.jazzcorner.com
Rifftides (Doug Ramsey)http://www.artsjournal.com/rifftides
Mostly Music (Ronan Guilfoyle)http://ronanguil.blogspot.com
Bob Brookmeyerhttp://www.bobbrookmeyer.com

others

Advance Musichttps://de.schott-music.com/advance-music
To contact Jim:
mcneelymusic@comcast.net

For information regarding buying music:
wuweimusic@comcast.net


Jim's Albums

Other Recordings

NEW PHOTOS


OLD TIMES


I. WU WEI MUSIC

East Coast Blow Out #1) Do You Really Think That...? (pdf's)
Big Band - 9 Brass
more info
East Coast Blow Out #2) Skittish (pdf's)
Big Band - 9 Brass
more info
East Coast Blow Out #3) More Questions (pdf's)
Big Band - 9 Brass
more info
East Coast Blow Out #4) Cantus Infirmus (pdf's)
Big Band - 9 Brass
more info
East Coast Blow Out #5) Finally (pdf's)
Big Band - 9 Brass
more info
Complete East Coast Blow Out (pdf's)
Big Band - 9 Brass
more info
ECBO #1) Do You Really Think That...? (Score Only) (pdf)
Big Band - 9 Brass
more info
ECBO #2) Skittish (Score Only) (pdf)
Big Band - 9 Brass
more info
ECBO #3) More Questions (Score Only) (pdf)
Big Band - 9 Brass
more info
ECBO #4) Cantus Infirmus (Score Only) (pdf)
Big Band - 9 Brass
more info
ECBO #5) Finally (Score Only) (pdf)
Big Band - 9 Brass
more info
All 5 Scores from East Coast Blow Out (pdf)
Big Band - 9 Brass
more info
...And Rhythm (pdf's)
Big Band - 10 Brass
more info
...And Rhythm (Score Only) (pdf)
Big Band - 10 Brass
more info
The Life of Riley (pdf's)
VJO (from "Up From the Skies")
more info
Don’t Even Ask! (pdf's)
VJO (from "Up From the Skies")
more info
Suite 1) Almost Always (pdf's)
VJO (from "Up From the Skies")
more info
Suite 2) Hardly Ever (pdf's)
VJO (from "Up From the Skies")
more info
Suite 3) You Tell Me (pdf's)
VJO (from "Up From the Skies")
more info
Three Answers, One Question (Entire Suite) (pdf's)
VJO (from "Up From the Skies")
more info
In This Moment (pdf's)
VJO (from "Up From the Skies")
more info
We Will Not Be Silenced (pdf's)
VJO (from "Up From the Skies")
more info
All 7 pieces from Up From The Skies (pdf's)
VJO (from "Up From the Skies")
more info
Ad Parnassum (pdf's)
Swiss Jazz Orchestra (Paul Klee)
more info
Bueste Eines Kindes (Bust of a Child) (pdf's)
Swiss Jazz Orchestra
more info
Der Seiltaenzer (The Tightrope Walker) (pdf's)
Swiss Jazz Orchestra
more info
Individualisierte Hoehenmessung der Lagen (pdf's)
Swiss Jazz Orchestra
more info
Paukenspieler (Timpanist) (pdf's)
Swiss Jazz Orchestra
more info
Rosenwind (Rose Wind) (pdf's)
Swiss Jazz Orchestra
more info
Tod und Feuer (Death and Fire) (pdf's)
Swiss Jazz Orchestra
more info
Uebermut (Cockiness) (pdf's)
Swiss Jazz Orchestra
more info
All 8 Pieces from Paul Klee (pdf's)
Swiss Jazz Orchestra
more info
Don't Even Ask! (Study Score) (pdf)
VJO Study Score
more info
The Life of Riley (Study Score) (pdf)
VJO Study Score
more info
In This Moment (Study Score) (pdf)
VJO Study Score
more info
We Will Not Be Silenced (Study Score) (pdf)
VJO Study Score
more info
Three Answers, One Question (Entire Suite) (Study Scores) (pdf)
more info
Suite 1) Almost Always (Study Score)
8-1/2 X 11 Score only
more info
Suite 2) Hardly Ever (Study Score)
VJO Study Score
more info
Suite 3) You Tell Me (Study Score)
VJO Study Score
more info
All 7 Study Scores from Up From the Skies (pdf's)
VJO Study Score
more info
Ad Parnassum (Study Score) (pdf)
Swiss Jazz Orch. Study Score
more info
Bueste Eines Kindes (Study Score) (pdf)
Swiss Jazz Orch. Study Score
more info
Der Seiltaenzer (Study Score) (pdf)
Swiss Jazz Orch. Study Score
more info
Individualisierte Hoehenmessung der Lagen (Study Score) (pdf)
Swiss Jazz Orch. Study Score
more info
Paukenspieler (Study Score) (pdf)
Swiss Jazz Orch. Study Score
more info
Rosenwind (Study Score) (pdf)
Swiss Jazz Orch. Study Score
more info
Tod und Feuer (Study Score) (pdf)
Swiss Jazz Orch. Study Score
more info
All 8 Study Scores from Paul Klee (pdf's)
Swiss Jazz Orch. Study Score
more info
Uebermut (Study Score) (pdf)
Swiss Jazz Orch. Study Score
more info
Cranky Takes a Holiday (pdf's)
Tentet (2 Tp, FH, Tbn, 3 Reeds, PBD)
more info
Group Therapy (pdf's)
Tentet (2 Tp, FH, Tbn, 3 Reeds, PBD)
more info
In This Moment (pdf's)
Tentet (2 Tp, FH, Tbn, 3 Reeds, PBD)
more info
Lost (pdf's)
Tentet (2 Tp, FH, Tbn, 3 Reeds, PBD)
more info
Meiji Stunt (pdf)
Jim McNeely Trio
more info
Silent Night (pdf's)
Tentet (2 Tp, FH, Tbn, 3 Reeds, PBD)
more info
A Perfect Six (pdf's)
Tentet (2 Tp, FH, Tbn, 3 Reeds, PBD)
more info
Ernie Banks (pdf)
McNeely/Sill/Spencer Trio
more info
For Manny (pdf)
McNeely/Sill/Spencer Trio
more info
Cranky Takes a Holiday (Study Score) (pdf)
Tentet Study Score
more info
Group Therapy (Study Score) (pdf)
Tentet Study Score
more info
In This Moment (Tentet Study Score) (pdf)
Tentet Study Score
more info
Lost (Study Score) (pdf)
Tentet Study Score
more info
A Perfect Six (Study Score) (pdf)
Tentet Study Score
more info
Silent Night (Study Score) (pdf)
Tentet Study Score
more info
Blue Note (pdf's)
VJO - 9 Brass
more info
Las Cucarachas Entran (pdf's)
VJO - 9 Brass
more info
Las Cucarachas Entran Study Score (pdf)
VJO Study Score
more info
The Sky's the Limit (pdf's)
Frankfurt Radio Big band
more info
The Sky's the Limit Study Score (pdf)
HR Study Score
more info
The Sky's the Limit Concert Study Score (pdf)
HR Study Score
more info
Bumps (pdf's)
Fl, AS, TS, BS, Tp, Tbn, G, P, B, D
more info

II. UNC JAZZ PRESS

Thad
VJO - 8 Brass
more info
Lickety Split
VJO - 8 Brass
more info
Extra Credit
VJO - 9 Brass
more info
Off the Cuff
VJO - 9 Brass
more info
Mel
VJO - 8 Brass
more info
Reflection
VJO - 8 Brass
more info
Absolution
VJO - 8 Brass
more info
Sing, Sing, Sing
CHJB - 8 Brass
more info
Sticks
VJO - 8 Brass
more info
Finally
Big Band - 9 Brass
more info
Empty House
Big Band - 9 Brass
more info
Diamonds, Thorns, Tassles
Big Band - 10 Brass
more info
305
Big Band - 8 Brass
more info


Teaching has long been a major component of Jim's activities. He currently holds positions at two institutions:

Professor of Graduate Jazz Composition at Manhattan School of Music, where he works with both jazz composition majors and performance majors.

Professor of Graduate Arranging at William Paterson University.

Jim occasionally takes outside students. For more information you may contact him at mcneelymusic@comcast.net
Jim McNeely
For Manny
from Boneyard
iTUNESLISTEN
Jim McNeely
Touch
LISTEN
Jim McNeely
Cranky Takes a Holiday
LISTEN
Jim McNeely
Silent Night
LISTEN
Jim McNeely
Lost
LISTEN
Jim McNeely
A Perfect Six
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Jim McNeely
A Perfect Six
Phil Woods Quintet
LISTEN
Jim McNeely
Paper Spoons
Phil Woods Quintet
LISTEN
Jim McNeely
Baby Faced
Phil Woods Quintet
LISTEN
Jim McNeely
New Waltz
Phil Woods Quintet
LISTEN
Jim McNeely
Don't Even Ask!
Phil Woods Quintet
LISTEN
Jim McNeely
Burn
George Robert Jazztet & Randy Brecker
from Remember The Sound: Homage To Michael Brecker
iTUNESLISTEN
Jim McNeely
Silver Spheres
George Robert Jazztet & Randy Brecker
from Remember The Sound: Homage To Michael Brecker
iTUNESLISTEN
Jim McNeely
In Step, Out Ahead
George Robert Jazztet & Randy Brecker
from Remember The Sound: Homage To Michael Brecker
iTUNESLISTEN
Jim McNeely
Bumps
George Robert Jazztet & Randy Brecker
from Remember The Sound: Homage To Michael Brecker
iTUNESLISTEN
Jim McNeely
Into Thy Hands
George Robert Jazztet & Randy Brecker
from Remember The Sound: Homage To Michael Brecker
iTUNESLISTEN
Jim McNeely
Hudson Funkshon
George Robert Jazztet & Randy Brecker
from Remember The Sound: Homage To Michael Brecker
iTUNESLISTEN
Jim McNeely
Remember the Sound
George Robert Jazztet & Randy Brecker
from Remember The Sound: Homage To Michael Brecker
iTUNESLISTEN
East Coast Blow Out #2) Skittish
from East Coast Blow Out
WDR Big Band; Jim McNeely, John Scofield, Marc Johnson, Adam Nussbaum
LISTEN


Education


B. Mus. University of Illinois (1975)

Long Term Playing Associations



2/76-8/78
Ted Curson Groups

2/78-8/78
Chet Baker Quintet

8/78-2/79
Thad Jones/ Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra

2/79-9/84
Mel Lewis & the Jazz Orchestra

9/81-1/85
Stan Getz Quartet

8/90-2/95
Phil Woods Quintet

7/98-1/03
Danish Radio Jazz Orchestra
Permanent Chief Conductor

10/08-5/11
Frankfurt Radio Big BandArtist-in-Residence

6/11-present
Frankfurt Radio Big BandChief Conductor

10/83-present
Jim McNeely Trio

1/96-present
Vanguard Jazz OrchestraPianist & composer-in-residence

1/96-present
Jim McNeely Tentet

Short Term Playing Associations



Joe Henderson Quartet
David Liebman Septet
Bob Brookmeyer Sextet
Clark Terry Quintet

Major Guest Conducting Associations


1987-2006
West German Radio Big BandCologne, Germany

1997-2009
Metropole OrchestraHilversum, The Netherlands

1991-2010
Stockholm Jazz OrchestraStockholm, Sweden

Teaching



1/86-5/92, 9/02-present
William Paterson University

9/81-6/08
New York University

5/91-6/15
BMI Jazz Composers' Workshop
Musical Director

8/08-presentManhattan School of Music

Publications



The Art Of Comping
Advance Music

A Number of arrangements and articles published in The Piano Stylist

Professional Organizations



Local 802, American Federation of Musicians
National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences
Jazz Education Network

Grammy Award



2009
Best Recording by a Large Jazz Ensemble
Monday Night Live at the Village Vanguard


Grammy Nominations



1997
Best Arrangement on an Instrumental
Sing, Sing, Sing
Carnegie Hall Jazz Band

1999
Best Recording by a Large Jazz Ensemble
Lickety Split
Vanguard Jazz Orchestra

2001
Best Recording by a Large Jazz Ensemble
Nice Work
Danish Radio Jazz Orchestra

2001
Best Instrumental Arrangement
Nice Work If You Can Get It
Danish Radio Jazz Orchestra

2002
Best Recording by a Large Jazz Ensemble
Group Therapy
Jim McNeely Tentet

2003
Best Instrumental Arrangement
Black Holes
DRJO w/Renee Rosnes

2004
Best Instrumental Arrangement
Sing, Sing, Sing
David Liebman Big Band

2006
Best Instrumental Arrangement
Up from the Skies
Vanguard Jazz Orchestra

2006
Best Recording by a Large Jazz Ensemble
Up from the Skies
VJO

Publishing Company



Wu Wei Music (BMI)
P.O. Box 26
Maplewood, NJ 07040
Jim McNeely was born in Chicago, and moved to New York City in 1975. As a pianist he has enjoyed long-term affiliations with the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra (later Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra), the Stan Getz Quartet, and the Phil Woods Quintet. Currently he leads his own tentet and trio, and he appears as soloist at concerts and festivals worldwide. Jim’s reputation as composer, arranger and conductor continues to grow. In January of 1996 he re-joined The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra as pianist and Composer-in Residence. From 1998-2003 Jim was Chief Conductor of the Danish Radio Jazz Orchestra, and is currently Chief Conductor of the Frankfurt Radio Big Band. He continues to work as guest conductor with the Metropole Orchestra and most of the other major jazz orchestras in the U.S. and Europe.

Jim has recorded numerous albums as leader. The latest is “Up from the Skies (with the VJO)” (Planet Arts), which received a 2008 Grammy nomination (his ninth) for “Best Album by a Large Jazz Ensemble”.

He is currently member of the faculties of both Manhattan School of Music and William Paterson University.
Jim McNeely was born in Chicago, and moved to New York City in 1975. 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 nine Grammy nominations. In 1996 he re-joined The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra as pianist and Composer-in Residence. He is also chief conductor of the Frankfurt Radio (HR) Big Band. Other recent work includes projects with the Danish Radio Big Band (where he was chief conductor for five years), the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, the Metropole Orchestra (Netherlands), the Swiss Jazz Orchestra, and the Stockholm Jazz Orchestra. The New York Times has called his writing "exhilarating"; DownBeat has said that his music is "eloquent enough to be profound".

Jim has appeared as sideman on numerous recordings led by major artists such as Thad Jones, Mel Lewis, Stan Getz, Bob Brookmeyer, David Liebman, Art Farmer, Robert Watson, and Phil Woods. He has numerous albums under his own name. The latest is "Up from the Skies", with the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra on the Planet Arts label ("concert jazz at its headiest"—DownBeat) .

Teaching is also an important element of Jim's work. He is currently on the faculties of both Manhattan School of Music and William Paterson University. He was Musical Director of the BMI Jazz Composers' Workshop from 1991-2015. He has appeared at numerous college jazz festivals as performer and clinician, and has been involved regularly with several summer workshops. He has also done clinics and major residencies at dozens of institutions in the U.S., Canada, Europe, China, Australia. New Zealand, and Egypt.
Jim McNeely was an important early teacher and influence. I had met and heard him at Jamey Aebersold camps as a teenager and still remember a trio set with Kelly Sill and Joel Spencer at Pops for Champagne in Chicago (the tunes included “How My Heart Sings” and “Zingaro”) and a duo set with John Goldsby at the camp in Elmhurst (the tunes included “Hi-Fly” and “Bye-ya”). Jim was the reason I attended NYU, where he showed me how many notes I got wrong when transcribing Herbie Nichols pieces.

The following interview was taped in May 2011 after performances of Jim’s arrangements of TBP music with the hr-Bigband.

Included in the middle is a note from Jim in memory of the late Bob Brookmeyer. At the end, the previous McNeely music listening sessions with Darcy James Argue are reposted.Ethan IversonDo The Math
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Jim McNeely is one of the truly great contemporary American jazz composers. Following on from a comment he made to a post I’d written about integrating solos into extended form compositions, he allowed me to interview him about the act of composition in contemporary jazz. What follows is a transcript of that conversation, and it covers a huge area and many aspects of the art and craft of writing for improvising musicians.Ronan GuilfoyleMostly music
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McNeely: Well, obviously, there's a lot that is similar, and certain "arrangers" —like Gil Evans or Bob Brookmeyer —had the ability to blur the lines between the two; they'll do an arrangement which really sounds like their own composition. But to me, an arrangement is a process that's done to a song. I think of the song as the main character of the whole play, and your job as an arranger is to present that character and, by the end of the arrangement, we have some insight into the tune, into the character.Frank TafuriOmniTone
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If you own some of the best records of the Stan Getz quartet or you dig the great jazz orchestras, then there is a good chance that you have heard—or better still—felt Jim McNeely's touch before. Either way, if you want to learn more about some of the jazz giants that McNeely has backed on piano, including Getz, Chet Baker, Ted Curson, Thad Jones, Mel Lewis and Joe Henderson, as well as the jazz composing and arranging process, then you have certainly hit the right button to get to the right page.Joao Moreira dos SantosAll About Jazz
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Recordings as Leader



Rain's Dance


The Plot Thickens


East Side, West Side


From the Heart


Winds of Change


w/Stockholm Jazz Orch.
Jigsaw


w/German Radio Big Band
East Coast Blow Out


Jim McNeely
At Maybeck Vol. 20


w/Stockholm Jazz Orchestra & Dick Oatts
Sound Bites


Lickety Split - The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra Plays the Music of Jim McNeely


The Danish Radio Jazz Orchestra & Jim McNeely
Nice Work


Jim McNeely Tentet
Group Therapy


The DRJO & Jim McNeely
The Power and the Glory


The DRJO and Jim McNeely Play Bill Evans


Jim McNeely Trio
In This Moment


The Swiss Jazz Orchestra & Jim McNeely
Paul Klee


The Danish Radio Big Band & Jim McNeely
Dedication Suite


w/The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra
Up from the Skies


w/Kelly Sill, Joel Spencer
Boneyard


Frankfurt Radio Big Band & Dave Douglas
A Single Sky


Frankfurt Radio Big Band, Liebman & Beirach
Quest for Freedom


Selected Other Recordings



Thad Jones/Mel Lewis
Body and Soul


Mel Lewis & the Jazz Orch.
Plays Bob Brookmeyer Compositions


Mel Lewis & the Jazz Orch.
Naturally


Mel Lewis & the Jazz Orch.
Live at Montreaux


Mel Lewis & the Jazz Orch.
Make Me Smile


Mel Lewis Quintet
Mellifluous


Bob Brookmeyer
Through a Looking Glass


Stan Getz Quartet
Pure Getz


Stan Getz
The Stockholm Concert

Stan Getz
Blue Skies


Stan Getz/Chet Baker
Quintessence, vol. 1


Rufus Reid Trio
Seven Minds


David Liebman
Homage to Coltrane


David Liebman
Time Line


George Robert Jazztet
Remember the Sound


Phil Woods Little Big Band
Real Life


Duo w/Phil Woods
Flowers for Hodges


Phil Woods Quintet
Full House


Phil Woods Quintet
You and the Night and the Music


Phil Woods Quartet/Quintet
The 20th Anniversary Album


Phil Woods Quintet
An Affair to Remember


Phil Woods Quintet
Plays the Music of Jim McNeely


Phil Woods Quintet
Souvenirs


Vanguard Jazz Orchestra
The Thad Jones Legacy


Vanguard Jazz Orchestra
Can I Persuade You?


Vanguard Jazz Orchestra
The Way


Vanguard Jazz Orchestra
Monday Night Live at the Village Vanguard


Vanguard Jazz Orchestra
Over Time
As compared to 40 or 50 years ago, there are now may fine books available that can help the aspiring composer/arranger in his or her quest for knowledge. Here are the ones that have impressed me the most. This is by no means an exhaustive list, nor the final word on this subject. I'll revise it from time to time. And let me emphasize that no one has paid me (or ever will) to be included on this list.

Texts


Russell Garcia
The Professional Arranger-Composer, Vol. 1 Joe Goldfeder
The book I learned from many years ago. The book might be considered "old fashioned", but you never forget your first...

Sammy Nestico
The Complete Arranger Fenwood Music
Solid information from a solid arranger

Don Sebesky
The Contemporary Arranger Alfred Music
Solid information from another, more modern solid arranger

Gary Lindsay
Jazz Arranging Techniques Staff Art Publishing
All the basic information, plus Gary's into many of the more recent composer/arrangers

Bill Dobbins
Jazz Arranging and Composition: A Linear Approach Advance Music
Not a big band book, but a great treatise on the linear aspect of jazz composition and arranging

Scores, etc.


Rayburn Wright
Inside the Score
(Kendor Music
Jazz writer Frank Hadley asked a number of composer/arrangers to list their five favorite big band recordings, for an article he was writing for DownBeat. Here was my reply:

Duke EllingtonThe Blanton-Webster Band
Great soloists, and Strayhorn is deep in the process. Restricted by the recording time limits of the day, these are formal gems!!
Favorite Track: Impossible to pick a "favorite". With a gun to my head I'd go for either "Jack the Bear" or "Koko", but....

Bob Brookmeyer w/Mel Lewis and the Jazz OrchestraMake Me Smile
I'm playing on this one, and the music on this album changed my approach to composing for a big band. The song is only part of a bigger, more important story.
Favorite Track: the whole first side (remember LP's?) ("Make Me Smile", "Nevermore", "Nasty Dance")

Count Basie OrchestraBreakfast Dance and Barbeque
(was combined with Basie at Birdland in the Mosaic boxed set The Live Roulette Recordings)
Favorite Track: "Who, Me?" (Frank Foster)
The whole album is great, including Thad's Counter Block (a precursor to Little Pixie) and Joe Williams doing Five O'Clock in the Morning. But Frank's blues arrangement is a masterpiece. The 3 choruses of tutti (after the piano chorus) should be taught at every music school in the world. Combine that with Sonny Payne, Marshall Royal, Snooky Young, Thad Jones; what a band!

Gil EvansThe Individualism of Gil Evans
Favorite Track: "The Barbara Song" (Kurt Weill)
Some people consider me a pretty good composer/arranger. When I start to believe them, I put on "The Barbara Song". To this day I am reduced to tears. Check out the original (from "The Threepenny Opera"), then Gil's version, with Wayne Shorter and Elvin Jones. Truly a humbling experience...

Thad Jones/Mel LewisLive at the Village Vanguard
Favorite Track: "a-That's Freedom" (Thad's arrangement of his brother Hank's tune)
The whole album is incredible. But to this midwestern boy, "a-That's Freedom" made NYC seem like a wonderful place where I should go. Thad's 3 choruses of tutti are among the greatest of his many hair-raising shout choruses.

Frank wanted only five suggestions, but I had to append a list of "significant others":

• Any of the Dizzy Gillespie Big Band recordings from 1947 to 1956; especially Things to Come, which still kills me!
• Charles Tolliver, Stanley Cowell, etc.: Music, Inc.
• Oliver Nelson: Sound Pieces
• Maria Schneider: Everything
• Bob Brookmeyer: Gloomy Sundays and Other Bright Moments
• Bob Brookmeyer/New Art Orchestra: New Works and all of his other NAO recordings
• Gil Evans & Miles Davis: Porgy and Bess is my favorite; they're all tremendous
• Gerry Mulligan Concert Jazz Band (the Mosaic box is great)
• Duke Pearson: Introducing Duke Pearson's Big Band
• Darcy J. Argue: Infernal Machines
• Sherisse Rogers: Sleight of Hand
• Thelonious Monk/Hal Overton: The Thelonious Monk Orchestra At Town Hall
• Sun Ra: Heliocentric Worlds
• Manny Albam: West Side Story and The Soul of the City
• Globe Unity Orchestra; Vienna Art Orchestra

Many re-issues of recordings by Fletcher Henderson, Don Redman, Benny Carter; Mary Lou Williams (Andy Kirk), Jimmy Mundy (Count Basie et. al.), Eddie Sauter, Bill Finegan (w/Benny Goodman and their own orchestra)

More to come...