The Band Leader’s Bio

The Band Leader’s Bio

The band leader’s job is to organize the musicians in advance of the event day to make sure they have all of the info and instructions they need to fulfill their booking successfully and as directed. The band leader is also responsible for making musical decisions during performances and speaks on behalf of the band when dealing with the logistics of a booking (ahead of time, during and after). The band leader for capitalJAZZ is Mike McNeil. You can read his bio below.

Mike McNeil

Professional Musician, Drummer

Band Leader for capitalJAZZ

           As a drummer and holder of a bachelor of music degree from Carleton University, Mike is continuing on a music career which has already seen him perform on just over 1000 gigs and recording sessions since 2007, tour Canada and The U.S.A. as a professional musician, work as a cruise ship show band musician for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines “Enchantment of the Seas Orchestra” and perform drums in the production show “Stage to Screen”, which is a musical that includes music from West Side Story, Sweet Charity, Chicago and Hair Spray. Highlights in 2008 include 5 months of busy intermittent touring of Canada and the U.S.A as a professional musician as well as performing at the London, Ontario Sunfest. Highlights in 2009 include a performance at the Cisco Systems Ottawa Bluesfest Main Stage (Bank of America Stage) with Jeff Rogers and The Liquid Sound. Highlights in 2011 include a request to perform in China (though cancelled), the release of artist Deneece’s CD “From Bromont To Broadway” which Mike performed on and a recording session in which Mike recorded drum tracks on 3 songs for Paul Blissett’s album “Luna”. Highlights in 2013 and 2014 include 2 performances at The Ottawa RBC Royal Bank Bluesfest with Firebelly and 1 performance at The Tremblant International Blues Festival with Firebelly.

           Mike’s career as a drummer has also provided him with the opportunity to perform with such artists as Billy Richards’ Coasters, Bill Pinkney’s Original Drifters, Juno Award winning musician Steve Marriner, East Coast Music Awards Nominee Neil McDaniel, Canadian Aboriginal Music Award Winner Melisa Pash, Howie and Bert On the Edge Comedy Jugglers, The Royal Caribbean Cruise Line’s Singers and Dancers and numerous choirs. He has also performed drums for many artists’ albums, 5 of which can be found on iTunes (3 albums and 2 singles). Mike has also written professional drum charts/transcriptions for Yamaha Drum Set Artist/Zildjian Cymbals Artist Volkan Oktem as well as Grammy Award Pre Nominee Rocco Ventrella. As a local freelance musician, Mike has performed professionally with numerous Carleton University associate performance teachers including Tim Bedner, Mark Ferguson, Roxanne Goodman and Rick Rangno and he has also had the privilege of performing with some other great local musicians including Mark Ferguson (Tony Bennett, Holly Cole), Mike Mullin (Natalie Cole), and Carmelo Scafidi. Mike has also filled in on gigs for Sonor Drum Set Artist/Endorser and Carleton University associate drum set performance teacher Jeff Asselin.

           Having studied many aspects of music, Mike has specialized in drum set and has studied with Chuck R. Burrows (highly respected drum set instructor), Juno Award winning musician Paul Delong (Kim Mitchell, Tom Scott), Mark Kelso (Herbie Hancock, James Taylor) and others. Mike has also taken a group master class with Randy Cooke (Ringo Starr, Kelly Clarkson) and a lesson with world class jazz drummer Ian Froman (Mike Stern). Mike’s pursuit of music and the drum set have allowed him the opportunity to play live and/or in the recording studio with a wide variety of artists including musicians, choirs, a DJ, jugglers, comedians, variety acts and dancers. It has also required him to play many styles of music ranging from rock to cha- cha, jazz to African Pop, metal to samba and blues to avant-garde classical as well as many other styles within the spectrum.

           From Ontario to Jamaica, from the U.S.A. to the Canadian prairies and from the middle of the ocean to Nunavut in the Canadian North, Mike has successfully performed as a professional musician. Mike has performed in many venues including the cruise ship main stage and orchestra pit, outdoor festival stages, hotels, event centers, recording studios and restaurants all while dealing successfully with the professional demands of chart reading/writing, rehearsing, playing to a click track, improvising, learning music by ear and performing with little or no rehearsal when necessary.

           Currently working as a full time performing musician in his home town of Ottawa, Mike is known for his strong sense of time and his desire to constantly push himself by discovering new envelope pushing drumming techniques and learning new styles of music.

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