A digital special section of | Subscribe

Jim McNeely

Jim McNeely

Won 2001 Grammy | Jazz pianist, composer

Three decades before Jim McNeely won his first Grammy, the nine-time nominee and acclaimed jazz pianist soaked up all that the campus music scene had to offer.

“My strongest memories of the U of I all revolve around the School of Music: rehearsals with John Garvey’s Jazz Band in Smith Hall Room 25; classes in all those little annex houses on Nevada Street; lessons with Morgan Powell in the 'new' Music Building; performing in the Krannert Center.

"Then there was the 'unofficial' music school: off-campus venues where we could play, like The T-bird, Treno’s, The Red Herring and Ruby Gulch

"And the strong local jazz scene featured the Bridgewater brothers, Tony Zamora and so many others. Combine all that with DeLuxe Lunch and Billiards and Po’ Boy’s and it was a great time to be at the U of I.”