Neil Gray IV was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico. His dad, Neil III was in the Air Force so the family traveled all over the world! Their last move brought them to Tyndall AFB in Panama City, FL, where Neil attended Rutherford H.S. He attributes much of knowledge and joy of music from his parents and his High School Band Director, Rodney Dasinger. Neil played sax early on then switched to the Tuba. As is natural for tuba players, Neil picked up the bass in college and began a new musical journey as a performer and teacher.
While attending the University of North Alabama, Neil studied with Roy Vogt, one of Nashville’s top bassist. Neil performed with The Muscle Shoals Big Band and the Edd Jones Orchestra. Also while in college he had the opportunity to perform with such greats as the Glen Miller Orchestra, Jim Nabors, Boots Randolph, Ann Hampton Calloway, and World renowned pianist Lazlo Gardony.
Upon graduating, Neil took a job back in his hometown of Panama City as a Middle School band director. He has been teaching music to the youth of Bay County for 22 years. While teaching he has kept an active performing schedule both locally and regionally. His association with renowned guitarist Ted Shumate has led to playing with some of the finest Jazz musicians in the world including the Grammy award winning Chip McNeill, keyboardist Larry Willis (of the original Blood, Sweat, and Tears), and Venezuelan Artist Gonzolo Mico. Neil is currently playing with “5 Central”, a Panama City-based Jazz/Blues group along with Cloud 9 pianist Luke Pinegar.
Neil is married to Melissa Gray. They have one son, Neil V, a gift from God! They are both very active in the Music Ministry at First Baptist Church of Panama City, where Neil is the Orchestra conductor and staff arranger, and Melissa is a featured Soloist with the choir! When Neil isn’t teaching or off somewhere playing you can find him at one of the many local freshwater bodies of water Bass Fishing!
Concerts with Cloud 9 Orchestra
11.19.2011…Winshape Marriage Retreat (Rome, GA)
12.11.2011…Cloud 9 Christmas at the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame #2 (Birmingham, AL)
12.22.2011…”Jingle Bell Swing” Benefit Concert for Noah’s Ark Ministry (Panama City Beach, FL)
02.14.2012…“Valentines on Cloud 9” at Bay Banquet Hall (Panama City, FL)
03.3.2012…Children’s Volunteer Health Network Benefit Concert (Alys Beach, FL)
07.1.2012…”Let Freedom Swing” featuring Cloud 9 Orchestra (Panama City, FL)
06.08.2013…“HealthFirst CPR Day” at Space Coast Stadium (Melbourne, FL)