Flutist. Born April 12, 1935 in Washington, D.C.
A member of D.C. Police Boys’ Drum and Bugle Corps, McNeill also studied piano from age 9 to 14, attending Terrell Junior High School before continuing at Dunbar High School. Attended Howard University briefly and then served in U.S. Navy (1954-1956) at Anacostia Receiving Station, where he was introduced to jazz flute by John Jackson. Returned to Howard University and studied zoology, but dropped out in 1957.
Played congas in local ensembles before switching to flute and studying with Frank Albright, a graduate student at Catholic University. In 1958 he began art studies at Morehouse College (BA, 1961) and then Howard University (MFA, 1963). Met Eric Dolphy in 1962 at D.C. International Jazz Festival. Additional private music instruction with Dolphy and Hale Smith in 1963. Lived in Paris with Andrew White (1964-1965).
Led groups with Don McKenzie, Gene Rush, Marshall Hawkins, Eric Gravatt, and others. Early albums were issued on his own Asha label, financed by Robert Bialek of Discount Records and Books, with later albums on his Baobab label. Composed works for Capitol Ballet Company.
Moved to New York City in 1970 where he studied classical flute for twelve years with Harold Jones.
Well known as a visual artist and educator. Designed 1969 posters for Bohemian Caverns in collaboration with Lou Stovall. On arts faculty at Rutgers University for three decades.
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