Neil Gillespie

Neil Gillespie, Keyboards & Backing Vocals

Neil is City Limit’s 2-handed secret weapon. Well versed in Jazz, Rock, Funk, Soul, Blues and R&B, Neil produces a kaleidoscope of sounds from his array of electronic keyboards. From soulful Hammond B3 sounds and slick piano to searing synths, soothing strings, crisp horn sections and special effects, audiences hear what he’s doing but don’t expect it’s coming from the keyboards. Overdubs on a click track? Not for Neil. He does it all live. Horns or strings simultaneously with piano or clavinet? Not a problem.

Neil grew up just outside New York City in West Hempstead, NY, learning classical piano from age 6 around New York City, where he won classical competitions at age 12 and played in his first Rock band “Bandersnatch” at 14. He attended the University of Notre Dame majoring in Business administration, later gaining his Master’s degree in Finance. For six years Neil held the jazz keyboard spot in the 21-piece jazz orchestra and Jazz combos appearing in the Collegiate Jazz festival a record six consecutive years. His jazz combo won best performance at the Collegiate Jazz Festival (CJF) and he was awarded a best individual performance for his keyboard work at CJF while at Notre Dame.

After a successful business career with GE and Eaton and running his own consulting firm, Neil returned to music and has performed with multiple bands in East Tennessee: The Northshore Band, Mighty Blue, The Reigns Band, and currently City Limit, Hardin-Gillespie Jazz Project, Dwight Hardin & Think Twice, and on occasion, Soulfinger.

Neil’s major influences are Keith Emerson, Steve Winwood, Brian Auger, Jimmy Smith, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea and Oscar Peterson. Neil says he’ll never claim to touch the great Peterson, but it’s great to try some of his techniques! One of his favorite things to cut loose on is a synth solo, his technique patterned after the great Jan Hammer. Check out "Kiss" in our video section.

Neil’s equipment:

Roland RD700NX stage piano
Korg Kronos 61 music workstation
Hammond XK5 double manual organ
Nord Electro 6D SW73 keyboard
Triton Extreme 61 music workstation
Triton Extreme 88 music workstation
Motion Sound Keypro 408s
Motion Sound Keypro 200
Motion Sound Pro145 Rotary cabinet for Hammond Organ