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Jimmy Neeley and Dylan Meek in Concert in Wimberley, Texas
A rare local performance by jazz legend, Jimmy Neeley and protégé Dylan Meek opens the Wimberley Concert Association season on Thursday, November 10, 2005 at 7 PM.
Jimmy Neeley and Dylan Meek
From the school of early hard knocks on the road, to the jazz clubs of Harlem, to the stage of Carnegie Hall, the master pianist Jimmy Neeley has seen it all and played music with hundreds of the best of them.

Neeley will be in concert for a rare local performance in Wimberley, Texas on November 10, 2005, and looks forward to debuting his fourteen year old protégé, Dylan Meek. This special concert is the first of the season for the Wimberley Concert Association.

Having earned a scholarship to study art in France, Neeley instead chose the opportunity to attend the Metropolitan School of Music in New York City and later Julliard. Trained at a young age to compose for every instrument in the orchestra, Neeley dedicated years to studying the great classical composers, Mozart, Chopin, and Beethoven. Now, sixty-five years later, after playing all over the world and in every state in America, Neeley lives in Wimberley, Texas with Shirley, his wife of fifty years.

During the heyday of jazz and music clubs in Harlem, Neeley performed all over New York City, playing at the Apollo, the Baby Grand, the Blue Note, and then downtown where, he recalls, "you graduated to the money." Neeley was called in to be "a club builder," building a client base. The Jimmy Neeley Trio helped build the Ali Baba Club where "all the folks came after the shows on Broadway. Every Saturday night she was in town, Judy Garland would be there to hear the Jimmy Neeley Trio. It helped make the East Side famous."

Neeley toured worldwide with everyone from jazz greats to rock and roll groups of the 1960's: Duke Ellington, Oscar Peterson, Lionel Hampton, Gene Krupa, Chuck Berry, Ray Charles, Arnet Cobb, Muddy Waters, Little Richard, Big Joe Turner, Dave Brubeck, Bo Diddley, the list goes on and on. Jimmy's memory of these days is prodigious, and he shares with Dylan the stories of life on the road, intimate times with Duke Ellington, Faye Adams, and countless others.

Dylan Meek is the beneficiary of Neeley's mentorship, a gift few musicians could ever have in a lifetime. Neeley is instilling in Dylan an understanding of musical tradition and an ability to continue Neeley's legacy: "So many of the music greats did not know how to read or write music but they knew it by instinct. Dylan has that gift. I want him to play loose, never the same thing twice. I don't want him to be like a clock, tick tock, tick tock."

Prior to studying under Neeley, Dylan had been a student of Dr. Michal Rosenberger for four years, and had received encouragement from Joyce Webb Tate, who was the first to point out to Meek's parents his natural ability with harmonics and had encouraged them to give him formal lessons. The young  Meek enjoys performing and says that he is very relaxed playing for a larger audience, "but I just don't want to disappoint Jimmy."

One of the best values for the money, ever, adults are admitted with a $5 donation at the door and students are admitted free. The concert will be held at Chapel in the Hills, 14601 Ranch Road 12, Wimberley, Texas.

--  Article content by Charles Peavy --
Charles Peavy, Ph.D. was the director of the award winning documentary film about the Texas blues artist, Sam "Lightning" Hopkins.


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