Neil Adler Jazz Piano & Harmonica
Office       (650)  326-3031
Mobile      (650) 919-3737  


  Neil was born in Detroit Michigan a few miles and 6 months from Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin. His grandfather, a concert violinist from Kiev, Russia emigrated to New York but forgave an offer with the N.Y. Met to pursue engineering in the booming auto industry. His father, an amateur pianist, and mother, a professional singer, filled the house with the best of jazz. When he was 7 they purchased a Gulbransen organ which came with four free lessions. On meeting the teacher, she listened to him pick melodies and songs and told them she couldn't teach him anything. That was the end of his early musical education. 

 Detroit was then a vibrant music scene full of Motown Pop, Gospel and R&B. A classmates' father was the maintenence man for 'Hitsville USA'  (Motown to be) which was 3 houses on West Grand Blvd. owned by Berry Gordy who began to record local talent including the Supremes, Temptations, Smoky Robinson and  Little Stevie Wonder,  Visiting the studio he met Stevie and saw the Countours recording 'Can You Do It' ('you broke my heart, cuz I couldn't dance, but now I can really shake it down.) in the famed Studio A.  Music was everywhere and one night you could visit the Twenty Grand Club, a $5, bring your own liquor, qhetto room and hear Albert King, B.B. KIng and Lightnin' Hopkins. and on another, at the famed Grande Ballroom, hear The Supremes 'vs.' Martha and the Vandellas with middle act Holland-Dozier-Holland with guest Stevie Wonder. 

   Attending Wayne State University in the inner city, he pursued his studies without giving any thought to a career in music. He supported himself with gigging with a rock band. The drummer, Jack Daniels, (his actual name), invited him to audition for an unusual gig with Dino Kouloulas and his Bazouki band who had a monopoly on the Detroit Greek Orthodox church, weddings and parties. After learning the 5/8, 7/8 and 9/8 grooves he auditioned and became the band organist.   He began to study harmony with Teddy Wilson, arranger for the Supremes and Paul Butterfield Blues Band, taught himself blues harp and taught music in the Free University. 

 His last year in Detroit he joined a studio band "Howl The Good', signed to Motown and recorded an LP in England at Island Studios of the Beatles.  Giving up the psychedelic life of rock music in the 70's he moved to California for graduate school at Stanford. 


   During his medical training he immersed himself in the Bay Area jazz scene, meeting, playing and studying with nearly all the  piano luminaries. Mentors included Smith Dobson, Russ Ferrante, Paul Nagel, Mark Levine, Rebecca Malleon, Art Lande, Don Haas, Dick Hindman, Paul Potyen, Bill Bell, Dave Matthews and Ellis Marcellis.  He took master classes with Bill Evans, Fred Hersh, Dan Haerle, George Cables and Kenny Werner. Performances favored his own trio with sidemen including the bay areas best such as Jeff Chambers and Eddie Marshall, accompanying singers including Madeline Eastman, Margie Baker, Morning Nichols, Freddie Strong and subbing with institutions such as Pete Escovedo and Mel Martin. Interest in Latin music led to travel and research throught the world. He was part of the first San Francisco music delegation to Cuba in 1991, returning in 2010 to study with 'Pupi" Pedroso, Nelson Diaz and Yosavany Terry and performing at the renown National School of the Arts in Havana. Opportunities with Salsa Orchestras that resulted included Tumbao y Cuerdas, Orchestra de Moderna Tradicion, Claudia Villela, Orquestra Actualidad, Tito y Su Orchestra International, and Fito Reynoso. Living and playing in South America and Brazil expanded his knowledge of this important influence on American Jazz and was followed by stays with multiple local groups including Chalo Eduardo and Escola Nova de Samba, Marcos Santos, Alegria etc. Continuing to pursue the rhythmic elements of jazz he recently he became organist for Mt. Olive Baptist Church, and Seventh Day Adventist Baptist in East Palo Alto and invited guest of the Stanford Gospel Summer Workshop. 

Currently he divides his playing between eclectic solo classical/jazz music, his 'Real Time' Trio (playing piano, pedal bass)  and increasing session and studio jazz chromatic harmonica. He is a Seydel Harmonica artist endorsing the Saxony Chromatic, plays Yamaha Grand pianos, Roland keyboards and uses Acoustic Image Amplification