My early musical influesnes were entirely classical. Primarily Chopin. Actually, my mom taught me my first stride bass tune, St.Louis Blues. In my teens I started playing in bands and acquired copies of the then “illegal” fake books. The world of standards opened up and I learned lots of them, comping basic chords in my left hand.
Around 15 I became exposed to the jazz genre. Miles, Monk, Brubeck, MJQ. Those sounds became my jazz foundation. I tried to improvise but it was unguided and not very adventurous. Of course I listened to a lot of lesser luminaries, but still great… Horace Silver, Yusef Lateef, Ahmad Jamal, Ravi Shankar, etc.
it wasn’t till I found Connie Crothers (a protégé of the great Lennie Tristano) in New York in 1973 that my jazz ears fully opened and real improvisation became a possibility.. Bird, Billie Holiday, Bud Powell, Lennie Tristano, Louis Armstrong, Monk, Charlie Christian, Lester Young, Warne Marsh were the main players I listened to and sang along with. Not much rock influence, however. The Beatles, Doors, Rolling Stones and a few others. Today I listen to everything with open ears.
My first CD was “Michael Levy At Greenwich House” recorded live in Greenwich Village circa 1985. Connie had encouraged me to do the concert as an important next step in my musical evolution. As a jazz musician I had only played a couple of times at Lennie Tristano’s “scenes” in Jamaica, Queens.
since then I have released 7 albums on New Artists Records, performed at The BlueNote and Birdland in NYC. Additionally, I have published 54 albums of all iOS (iPad) produced material on BandCamp encompassing jazz, classical and electr music, all improvised.
Dramatists' Guild Award for Playwrighting 1969
1915 Steinway B, Kawai ES8.
One of the most uniquely individual pianists currently abroad. This is very rich music. After listening to the disc repeatedly, each rehearing still yields up new barks and berries.
— Alan Barbebuhr, Cadence Magazine
Michael Levy reveals fresh perspectives on some jazz classics, virtually creating new identities for them in both form and feeling. The improvisational flow is allowed to cut new channels through these pieces, opening up byways and hidden crannies.
— Lois Moody, Jazz News