Pianist and mandolinist Neil Pearlman is rapidly distinguishing himself as a uniquely innovative artist in the contemporary traditional music scene. Called “a tremendous pianist” on BBC Radio Scotland and “a force to be reckoned with” by WGBH’s Brian O’Donovan, Neil is recognized in many Celtic music circles for his unique approach to the piano. Rooted in traditional Cape Breton piano styles, Neil brings in ideas from many other genres and the result is an exciting new sound that remains true to its traditional roots. It was this fresh approach that led legendary Cape Breton fiddler Jerry Holland to say “watching Neil’s hands on the piano was like watching two spiders on crack!”
An accomplished Cape Breton step dancer as well, Neil grew up in the family band Highland Soles, led by father and mother Ed Pearlman and Laura Scott, both influential Scottish music and dance figures in the US. Neil has performed with Natalie MacMaster, Alasdair Fraser, Bruce MacGregor, Natalie Haas, Mike Block, Seamus Connolly, Kimberley Fraser, Maeve Gilchrist, Hanneke Cassel and Mike Vass, opened for Archie Fisher, split a bill with Jerry Holland and worked closely with many others. His career so far has taken him to Scotland, Spain, Mexico, Canada and all across the US.
Neil currently performs with a wide range of musical projects from traditional Scottish fiddle music to contemporary jazz. These include Alba’s Edge (Scottish/Jazz/Latin quartet), Soulsha (Scottish/West African/Funk 8 piece band), The Katie McNally Trio (“The new face of Scottish Fiddle in America” -Living Tradition Magazine), Party of Three (Contradance band) and Neil’s duo with father Ed Pearlman. Check out the “Projects” page of this site for more information.