Richard, Al, Gregg
Al Neil Trio
Vancouver, British Columbia
1965 - 1970


Richard Anstey ~ Double Bass, Vocals
Al Neil ~ Piano, Zither, Toy Instruments, Vocals
Marguerite Neil ~ Violin, Vocals
Gregg Simpson ~ Drums, Toy Instruments, Sound Collages

Al Neil Trio - Photo Courtesy of James Anstey

The Al Neil Trio, of which I was the drummer and sound collagist from 1965 to 1970, was the pioneering free jazz group of that era in Canada.  It had a large following in Vancouver, putting on weekend concerts at the Sound Gallery, Motion Studio, Intermedia, the Vancouver Art Gallery, SFU, UBC and across Canada to Toronto, Edmonton and Calgary.

In 1966 the trio played the Trips Festival in the PNE Garden Auditorium where they opened for the Grateful Dead, Quicksilver Messenger Service and Janis Joplin, who had just joined Big Brother and the Holding Co. The trio had a singular relationship to the rock bands of the era through a similar desire to do mixed media concerts, which later became the commercial light show. As a visual artist I worked in the Pender Auditorium Afterthought concerts with Sam Perry and WECO, his experimental projection group, conceived before the term light shows was used.

The trio has a double CD with 36 page booklet released in 2002 by the bassist of the trio, Richard Anstey on his Blue Minor records, available at

Gregg Simpson, November 2002

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Last Update: 15 December 2002
Credits: Gregg Simpson, James Anstey
Band # 1098