Neil Carson

Saxophonist | Composer | Arranger | Producer


Welcome to the MEDIA page. Here you can find various audio and video recordings of my work. All music recorded, mixed and edited by Neil Carson.


"Fast Car" - Jazz Nonet

This arrangement of "Fast Car" was part of a project focusing on instrumental jazz versions of some of my favorite 80's pop songs. I have always been fascinated with the idea of taking pop music nuances and pop song structures, and introducing them to an instrumental jazz context--how to handle verses and choruses, and how to tell a "lyrical" story without the aid of lyrics. This arrangement tells a unique story, one that blurs the line between jazz, pop, and rock sensibilities. 

Featuring: Alec Aldred, trumpet; Tom Kelly, alto sax; Neil Carson , tenor sax (solo); Brian Bibb, bari sax; Tyler Giroux, trombone (solo); Jonah Udall , guitar; Zach Bartholomew, piano (solo); Ken Ge, bass; Evan Hyde, drums



"Caravan" - big band + vocal ensemble

This arrangement of "Caravan" was commissioned as part of the 31st annual Festival Miami music festival at the Frost School of Music, University of Miami. The arrangement was written to feature French jazz vocalist Cyrille Aimée, Frost Extensions, and the Frost Studio Jazz Band. With a 10-minute duration, this challenging arrangement features a variety of moods, grooves and textures which make it a refreshing take on Juan Tizol's 1936 classic. 

Soloists - Kate Reid, vocals; Russ Macklem, trumpet; Chris Thompson-Taylor, tenor saxophone

Recorded by the Frost Studio Jazz Band and Frost Extensions

"a moment of lucidity" - electronic

This piece was composed as an overture to a fictional short film, which chronicles a hit-man's dedicated pursuit of a high-level South Beach drug dealer in the 1980s. The title "A Moment of Lucidity" reflects the hyper-focused mindset of the killer, whose drive and intensity have detached him from reality, so that nothing exists except his mission to take another life. 

All production for this piece was completed in Logic Pro X. 


"Eat My shorts" - jazz nonet

"Eat My Shorts" is a piece I composed as part of my recent project of 1980's-themed arrangements and compositions for nonet. The title is a famous line from the John Hughes's classic 1985 film The Breakfast Club. Inspired by the rebellious angst of 1980s teenage delinquency, "Eat My Shorts" channels this adolescent aggression into music.

Featuring: Alec Aldred, trumpet; Tom Kelly, alto sax (solo); Neil Carson, tenor sax; Brian Bibb, bari sax; Tyler Giroux, trombone; Jonah Udall , guitar; Zach Bartholomew, piano (solo); Ken Ge, bass; Evan Hyde, drums


"Both sides, now" - jazz vocal ensemble

Joni Mitchell's "Both Sides, Now" is one of my favorite pop songs, whose lyrics go deeper than you're used to--taking a look at how clouds, love, and ultimately life, change over time. Combine that with Mitchell's gorgeous melodies and catchy guitar hooks, and this song is to me, musical perfection. The challenge was presenting my unique interpretation of "Both Sides, Now," a song that has been covered countless times. 

Featuring Frost Extensions: Linda Alvarado, Alex Manfredo, Danielle Wertz, Neil Carson, Lowell Ringel, Elliot Weeks



"Rain Light" - voice and chamber orchestra

The lyrics to "Rain Light" are taken from the W.S. Merwin poem of the same name, the text of which can be found here:

In the poem a mother speaks to her child, saying, "I am going now. When you are alone you will be all right. Whether or not you know, you will know." Tender, loving reassurance defines the text of this poem, and the music is meant to reflect this feeling of faith, love, security and certainty. 

Featuring: Danielle Wertz - vocals; Szilard Molnar, Rhonda Kremer, Mike Barcenas - horns; Matt Nichols - percussion; Neil Carson - piano; Sara Arevalo, Nicole Oswald, David Parks, Mateja Kalajian, Ariele Macadangdang, Abby Fuchs - violins; Eric Eakes, Colin Lee, Silvana Ferrarin - violas; Sarah Gongaware, Joy Adams, Boris Popadiuk - cellos; Ben Melvin, Harley Robertson - basses


"romance for bassoon and string orchestra"

This one-movement concerto for bassoon and strings is called a "romance" because of its musical grandeur. Melodramatic string gestures and bold bassoon statements mean this piece takes itself very seriously, but hopefully not too much? You be the judge.

Featuring: Julia Paine - bassoon; Ariele Macadangdang (solo), Nicole Oswald, Paige Towsey, Jaya Varma, Mateja Kalajian, David Parks, Diana Rosales, Abby Young - violins; Emily Acri (solo), Vishnu Ramunkutty, Lauren Miller, Suyog Pagonkar, Javier Chacon - violas; Sarah Gongaware (solo), Sarah Huesman, Eva Dines - cellos; Daniel Carson (solo), Ben Melvin, Harley Robertson, basses



"in your eyes" - nonet

This cover of Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes" is part of a recent project of mine featuring covers of my favorite 80's pop songs. "In Your Eyes" has long been a favorite song of mine, and as with all of my arrangements the challenge was to introduce my own take on an already great song, while retaining much of what makes it great. 

Featuring: Alec Aldred - trumpet; Tom Kelly (solo) - alto sax; Neil Carson - tenor sax; Tyler Giroux - trombone; Brian Bibb (solo) - bari sax; Jonah Udall - guitar; Zach Bartholomew - piano; Ken Ge - bass; Evan Hyde - drums



"everybody wants to rule the world" - nonet

Another cover of a famous 80's pop song--this time "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" by Tears for Fears. The arrangement wrote itself in a lot of ways, since it kept the driving shuffle groove from the original, and the same swinging melody with a few minor adjustments. 

Featuring: Alec Aldred - trumpet; Tom Kelly - alto sax; Neil Carson - tenor sax; Tyler Giroux - trombone; Brian Bibb (solo) - bari sax; Jonah Udall - guitar; Zach Bartholomew - piano; Ken Ge (solo) - bass; Evan Hyde - drums