Bio for Neal Spitzer
Neal Andrew Spitzer is a full time musician, composer, educator, and sound engineer. He has lived and performed in the NYC area since moving there from Boston in 1992 to attend The New School for Jazz Performance. He is the son of an accomplished Concert Pianist, Rosalie Spitzer, who was also President of The Society For New Music in Central New York. Neal's mother played premiere works by John Cage, Shulamit Ran, and Ahmad Jamal to name a few. Due to this, these and many other composers/performers were routinely in Neal's house as he grew up. As a college student, Neal was commisioned by The Society for New Music to write a piece, Mustela Ermine, which was performed as part of their concert series. He also worked throughout college as a clinician for The Society for New Music and The Central New York Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Larry Luttinger.
While at Brandeis University, Neal forged a lasting relationship with the great Tenor Saxophone Player and Composer Ricky Ford. Ricky was an adjunct professor at Brandeis studying 12-Tone Theory. He quickly took Neal under his tutelage on clarinet and Tenor Saxophone. During his four years at Brandeis and the following two years that Neal lived in Boston, Ricky Ford had him in the first tenor chair as a student and then as a hired musician.
Through this experience with Ricky Ford, Neal was able to play with many of the greats including Milt Hinton, Stafford James, Houston Person, Amina Claudine Myers, Steve Lacy, Jaki Byard, Avery Sharpe, Ran Blake, and many others. Neal also played with Ricky Ford's Fusion Band on saxophone while in Boston. After a few stints with some local bands, Neal went on tour in the early 90s with the Band Shockra. These East Coast Tours included warming up for Phish at Club Casino in 1991 during their Horn Tour. Under the suggestion and direction of Ricky Ford, Neal left Shockra and the Boston are to attend The New School for Jazz Performance in NYC.
Neal's time at The New School turned him into a full time musician. Arnie Lawrence graciously accepted him as his student and his life changed dramatically. Neal has always considered Arnie as a second father as he not only nurtured him as a musician, but helped him break into the world of Jazz. Arnie and Neal would go on to play numerous gigs with such greats as Jimmy Cobb, Frank Luther, and Bobby Johnson. Other teachers include Andrew Cyrille, Bernard Purdie, Charles Tolliver, Chico Hamilton, George Coleman, Charles Tolliver, and Charlie Persip (I love drummers).
Neal also studied arranging with Kirk Nurock and Maria Schneider while attending the New School. He continues to arrange and write to this day for all aspects of his musical career. This includes full scores for Big Band, Orchestra, and Small Jazz Ensembles.
Neal Spitzer's Education includes a BS in Biology from Brandeis University (1990), a MFA from The New School for Jazz Performanc (1993), and a Masters in Education from Columbia University's Teachers College (2005).
Neal's credits as a musician continue to grow. From running Jam sessions in Woodstock, NY with Stefan Lessard (Dave Matthews Band) on Acoustic Bass to playing regularly with Corey Glover (Living Colour), he strives to play the best and with the best. He has numerous recordings that have been commercially released with his tracks. Many of which were recorded at his home studio. Most recently are releases with Joe Ferry's Big Ska Band featuring Corey Glover on vocals. This band is officially on The Shanachie recording label and distributed by Jump Up Records. Other recent work includes a New CD entitled Old Tunes Restored featuring Neal on clarinet, soprano sax, and tenor sax. Neal's newest efforts are concentrated on his funk band, Gridline which just finishing the mastering for it's full length CD release recorded last fall at Sabela studio on Long Island.