Born and raised in Manhattan, Neal received his high school diploma from the Interlochen Arts Academy, and attended the Manhattan School of Music. Most notable of his private teachers were classical bassist Orin O’Brien of the New York Philharmonic, and jazz bassist John Webber.
Neal started playing regularly at an Upper West Side jazz bar called Augie’s at the age of 19. It was there that he was initiated into the New York City jazz scene, backing many young jazz stars such as Larry Goldings, Peter Bernstein, Brad Mehldau, Eric Alexander, Chris Potter, and Roy Hargrove, all of whom have gone on to garner critical acclaim.
Over the years Neal has accompanied jazz legends such as Jon Hendricks, Annie Ross, James Moody, Bob Dorough, Bill Henderson, Frank Wess; and new jazz stars like Jane Monheit, Stacey Kent, Ann Hampton Callaway, Dena DeRose, Loston Harris; and fashion celebrity and T.V. personality Isaac Mizrahi. Neal has also held the bass chair in large groups such as the Toshiko Akiyoshi Jazz Orchestra, Carnegie Hall Big Band, and the Village Vanguard Jazz Band.
In 2006, Neal’s latest CD, The Evening Sound, was released on the Smalls Records label. This recording captures a sound inspired by his close association with Smalls jazz club for more then a decade, and showcases Neal’s talents as a composer and bandleader. This CD can be heard on radio stations nationwide.
Neal joined the Jane Monheit band in April, 2007.