Saxophonist and composer Neil Welch is a Seattle-based artist whose work is rooted in improvisation, using a wide spectrum of techniques to explore deep resonances within the saxophone and the spaces he performs. With a strong connection to place, Neil improvises, composes, and documents recordings prolifically within the urban and natural landscapes of the Northwest. These works are in collaboration with a variety of ensembles sizes, instrumentations, and in solo performances. His work embraces many musical styles, spanning avant-garde jazz, modern composition, Soundpainting, solo acoustic saxophone and electronic sound processing. At its core, this work is inextricably linked to the natural world. Neil draws artistic guidance from the mountains, rivers, rich vegetation and abundant wildlife of his native Pacific Northwest. All About Jazz calls his work “stunning and extraordinary” and Downbeat Magazine calls Neil “an impassioned tenor player.”
Neil was a founding member (2008) and former curator (2014-16) of the Racer Sessions weekly creative music series. He is co-director of the Seattle Saxophone Institute (2015-present), and is a sought after educator for saxophone instruction and creative improvisation. Neil is committed to expanding the saxophone’s role in modern music through new performance collaborations and a dedication to exploratory sound craft. Many of his solo and group projects, such as 12 Moons and the ongoing Continuous Resonance solo saxophone series focus exclusively on unamplified acoustic performance. As a longtime collaborator in the powerful drum/sax duo Bad Luck, Neil often performs the saxophone through live electronics blended with visceral acoustic sounds. With 6 solo albums documenting soprano to bass saxophones, his playing unabashedly embraces the acoustic and emotive capacities of the instrument.
In tandem with his artistic work, Neil is an avid lover of the outdoors. In his home state of Washington Neil can be found exploring the varied terrains this beautiful state has to offer. From the coastlands, to forests, mountains, and dry grasslands, he is often out and about hiking and backpacking throughout the year. Neil leads a vegan lifestyle, and celebrates this kind and healthy diet as a lifelong practice.