“I’ve worked very hard, but I’ve also been very, very lucky,” said the longtime University of Saskatchewan jazz instructor and trumpet player, who was featured recently in an article in The StarPhoenix.
McNeill has been teaching jazz theory and technique at the U of S for 20 years. He’s always instructed a cadre of individual students, and he’s still running the Jazz Ensemble for the school.
The 51-year-old hasn’t always been a teacher, and he isn’t only a teacher now. He still performs concerts at local jazz venues like The Bassment or during the annual Jazz Festival with other Saskatoon-based musicians, or any number of the travelling performers he’s met throughout his career.
But he also helps groom musicians outside the school, through workshops during the Jazz Festival and more professional groups like the Saskatoon Jazz Orchestra (which he had a hand in founding). Almost every jazz musicians who got their start in Saskatoon in the last two decades will have worked with McNeill, either inside or outside the university.