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John McNeil Redefines 'Handicapped' After Beating Rare Disease and Forming New Band, Hush Point

By Ian Holubiak i.holubiak@classicalite.com on Jan 02, 2015 07:47 PM EST

For the jazz world, a most important trumpet player that has probably eluded you over the years has returned to the performing circuit. Thus, John McNeil, while overcoming a neurological disorder called Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, returns with a new LP, Blues and Reds, and a heart as young as the musicians he's plays with.

At age 66, McNeil is a time-tested musician who hasn't let a rare disease get the best of him and that, despite its name, has nothing to do with teeth. The disorder, according to NPR, robbed him of his ability to perform.

In the interview with NPR, he talked about losing the battle with CMT, saying: "Couldn't get enough air, couldn't get enough compression out of my face, diaphragm wouldn't work right. ... Sooner or later, it got to a point where I couldn't play anymore."

He continued: "I had tried to make several comebacks. I learned to play left-handed; I'd lost the use of my right hand. Learned to play left-handed, did an album left-handed - then it went away!"

His new band, Hush Point, comes as a surprise. The musicians, while much more youthful, are right in step with the heavyweight.

So while the underground legend might have records that are hard to procure, his comeback shouldn't be slighted by the rarity of tangibility. Instead, give him a listen below and keep him on your radar.

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TagsHush Point, Jon McNeil, Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease

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