The versatile keyboard virtuoso Neil Alexander has made a lot of beans via homage and tribute: as a longtime member of the popular Pink Floyd tribute band the Machine; in his labor-of-love Weather Report, Herbie Hancock and Mahavishnu cover projects; and even, one could argue, in the decade or so of his life that he dedicated to developing a technically grueling two-hands piano version of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring (there is a famous four-hands arrangement out there, too). But through it all, Alexander has been a prolific composer and songwriter in his own right, releasing many of his originals under the name NAIL. Most of NAIL’s output fits comfortably under the greater fusion umbrella, but that allows quite a lot of diversity. Some of it is poppy and melodic; some is through-composed and prog-leaning; still more (maybe most) is improvisational, sonically audacious experimental groove fusion in the tradition of Miles Davis of the ’60s and the fusion bands of the ’70s formed by Miles alumni – which is to say, all of the great ones.
Alexander keeps pretty select company as a player. NAIL has numbered quite a few people among its ranks over the years, and they can all play a bit. At the Falcon Underground on July 19, NAIL will feature Nadav Snir-Zelniker on drums, Brian Mooney on bass, Steven Frieder on saxophones and special guest Monroe Quinn on guitar. As usual, there is no cover at the Falcon Underground, but direct-to-artists donations are how it works here – and does it ever.
Friday, July 19, 8 p.m., Donation
1348 Rt. 9W, Marlboro