Neil Andersson was born in Tacoma, WA and graduated from Wilson High School. He received his Master of Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, a BFA from the University of Washington, and a BA from the University of Puget Sound.
Neil started playing guitar in high school and in 1964 joined the famous Northwest rock group the Wailers. As a guitarist, he has done session work and played in many groups - recording for United Artists, Janus Records, Etiquette Records, and Modern Hot Records. He is a member of the Northwest Music Hall of Fame. In 1993 he began a collaboration with Dudley Hill that led to the formation of the jazz group Pearl Django; Pearl Django has subsequently recorded 13 CDs and maintains its own record label, Modern Hot Records. Neil also released a solo disc, C’est si bon, as well as two collaborations with fellow guitarist Peter Pendras: Malibu Manouche and As the Crow Flies. In 2010 Neil retired from Pearl Django to focus on art and other musical endeavors.
Paralleling his career in music is his work as a visual artist. He primarily paints landscapes in oils, both in the studio and plein air; his paintings have been featured in exhibitions in the Pacific Northwest, British Columbia, Indiana, and Illinois. Neil is represented by Jeffrey Moose Gallery in Seattle, the American Art Company in Tacoma, and Cypress Gallery in Lompoc, CA.
In addition to his activities in music and art, he has taught art at Chief Leschi School, the University of Puget Sound, Pierce College, Tacoma Community College, and Highline Community College. He has served on the Tacoma Arts Commission and worked for MetroParks Tacoma in summer arts programs. In 2008 Neil was featured in KIRO TV’s In Color.
Voices in Jazz Guitar, Joe Barth, “Pearl Django,” Mel Bay Publications
Masters of Jazz Guitar, Charles Alexander, “The Legacy of Django,” p. 160, Outline Press Ltd., London 1999
Encyclopedia of Northwest Music, James Bush, pp. 20, 164, Sasquach Books
Hot Club News, “Portrait: Pearl Django,” fall 1999, Augsberg, Germany
Guitar Player Magazine, “Gypsy Soul,” April 1999
Acoustic Guitar, “Universal Swing,” May 1998
Just Jazz Guitar, “Meet Pearl Django ” August 1996