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Jazz Biographies



* Topeka, 01.09.1952


Ed Neumeister grew up in Fremont California, 35 miles from San Francisco. When he was five, he found his father's old trumpet in the closet. He played the trumpet for two years and then switched to accordion. At nine, wanting to play trumpet again, he joined the Weldonian Band, a private marching band in Oakland. The band director convinced him to play the trombone because of his teeth structure. Neumeister understood later that he probably just needed trombone players. The band rehearsed all day every Saturday with a concert for the families in the evening. His first musical idol though, was J. J. Johnson. His other major influence on the trombone was Frank Rosolino. From 1970-73 he studied at the University Of California in San Jose where he studied trombone with Bob Szabo and composition and orchestration with Lou Harrison.

1973, at the age of 21, Neumeister bought a one-way ticket to Paris. He made his way to Amsterdam, living there for two years. In 1975 he moved back to San Francisco to continue his studies with the great trombone teacher Mitchell Ross. In 1978 Neumeister won the first trombone position with the Sacramento Symphony Orchestra. He was the first trombonist at the Circle Star Theater, playing weekly engagements with the likes of Frank Sinatra, Sarah Vaughn, Nancy Wilson, Dinah Ross, Dion Worwick and many others. He was also playing in a creative rock band with Jerry Garcia (of Greatful Dead fame), Merl Saunders, Ron Stallings, John Kahn and the legendary drummer Gaylord Birch. He also played with Julian Priester, John Handy, Mark Levine, Jerry Grenelli. For more than a year he worked a steady Friday night with his quartet, which included Mark Levine, Michael Formanek and Jerry Grenelli. Also members of his Quartet and Quintet were Jim McNeely, Kenny Werner, Harold Danko, Marc Copland, Victor Jones, Dennis Irwin, Drew Gress, Jay Anderson, Lincoln Goines, Jamey Haddad, John Riley and others.

In 1980 Neumeister moved to New York and almost immediately joined Lionel Hamptons' band. This followed a stint with the Buddy Rich Band. In September 1981, he joined the Mel Lewis Big Band and the Duke Ellington Orchestra, directed by Duke's son Mercer. From 1982-84 Neumeister played in Gerry Mulligans concert Jazz band. He was also active in the New York free-lance world, playing in the studios and theaters and wherever trombone players were found. Around 1988, he formed an Octet, which included Joe Lovano, Kenny Werner, Don Byron and others.

From the time he was fifteen, Neumeister was composing and arranging for whatever bands he was playing in. But, in 1987 composing became a more serious part of his musical persona. He began studying with Bob Brookmeyer, who was musical director of the Mel Lewis Band when Neumeister joined, and Manny Albam. Over the course of the next few years, he went from a trombonist who composed to a composer who played the trombone. In the 1992, his arrangement of "A Nightingale sang in Berkeley Square", written for the Mel Lewis Band, won him a Grammy nomination.

In 1992, Neumeister played his first recording with the Metropole Radio Orchestra. He has composed and/or arranged more than a hundred pieces ranging from solo to orchestra.

All this European travel eventually led to a teaching professorship at the University of Music in Graz. Preferring the more supportive environment for new and creative projects and the security of a teaching professorship, Neumeister moved, in 1999, with his family to Vienna Austria. He was subsequently offered the position of Head of the Jazz Composition Department at the Music Conservatory in Luzern (Musikhochschule Luzern, Fakultät III, Abteilung Jazz), Switzerland.


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