by Michael McNeill Trio

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“I often despair of my inability to sort out the vast wave of piano trios that come my way, but sometimes I'm caught by surprise -- just rarely by someone I've never heard of before. First clue here is the bassist, who never plays on uninteresting albums. Filiano kicks off the 20:34 opener -- that length another sign that something is up here -- but when the pianist takes over he darts in and out, never settling for something ordinary… A-” — Tom Hull (

“Pianist Michael McNeill's exhilarating and innovative debut recording Passageways pushes the harmonic boundaries of the ensemble [piano trio] into unique and intriguing territories… The classically trained Buffalo native leads his intimate group through five of his own originals that allow ample room for spontaneous creativity… With Passageways McNeill has burst on the modern music scene as an exciting and ingenious composer and improviser. His more seasoned associates, far from overshadowing him, enhance his singular vision. Hopefully this gem of a disc will serve as an introduction to a luminous career.” — Hrayr Attarian, AllAboutJazz (

“Michael McNeill's debut as a leader introduces a fresh perspective to the popular piano trio format. His compositions don't progress in a linear manner, nor do they strive to settle on time-tested harmonic or rhythmic structures; instead, they insistently explore the sonic possibilities within the immediate, fragile and equal interplay that the Buffalo, NY-based pianist-composer has with his improvisation-experienced trio mates, double bassist Ken Filiano and drummer Phil Haynes… McNeill is an exceptional composer and player, with a debut that sets a high standard for those yet to come.” — Eyal Hareuveni (

“The McNeill Trio plays high-level improvisational music, built around strong compositions and sturdy motifs… His extended solo during album- opener ‘Hold On’ offers a master- class in musical storytelling, and his improvised prelude to ‘Metropolis’ is both playful and haunting.” - Jeff Miers, Buffalo News

Recorded at a live concert at Hallwalls in Buffalo, NY in December 2010.


released 03 November 2011

Michael McNeill (piano, compositions)
Ken Filiano (bass)
Phil Haynes (drums)

Recorded by Bill Sack, December 11, 2010 at Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, Buffalo, NY
Mixed and mastered by Jon Rosenberg
Cover photo by Keating Godfrey (
Layout/design: Mari McNeil
Concert produced for Hallwalls by Steve Baczkowski and Ed Cardoni
Recording produced by Phil Haynes
Executive producer: Michael McNeill




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Michael McNeill Buffalo, New York

Michael McNeill has become an integral part of the thriving creative music scene in Buffalo, performing in bands led by Kelly Bucheger and Ravi Padmanabha, co-leading a quintet with John Bacon, and in other projects. He’s also collaborated with trumpet legend Paul Smoker on projects of standards and of original compositions. His debut CD features renowned improvisers Ken Filiano and Phil Haynes. ... more

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