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Stan Levey

Stan Levey, one of the strongest drummers of his generation, was born in Philadelphia in 1926. As a youngster, he showed promise as a boxer, and considered it briefly as a career, but music won out. He played in Philly with Dizzy Gillespie's group in 1942, at the tender age of 17. Soon after, he went to New York, where he and Dizzy worked on 52nd Street with Charlie Parker and Oscar Pettiford. He went on to play on over 1400 recordings and work with most of the big names in the music business at that time. For example: (this is the short list)

Instrumentalists: Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Coleman Hawkins, Art Tatum, Ben Webster, Dexter Gordon, Errol Garner, Miles Davis, George Shearing, Lester Young, Roy Eldridge, Zoot Simms, Stan Getz, John Lewis, Ray Brown, Sonny Stitt, Barney Bigard, Gerry Mulligan, Vince Guaraldi, Lee Konitz, Bud Shank, Charlie Ventura, Scott LaFaro, Victor Feldman, Art Pepper, Charlie Barnett

Big Bands: Benny Goodman, Stan Kenton, Woody Herman, Quincy Jones, Georgie Auld, Charlie Ventura, Boyd Reaburn, Nelson Riddle, Billy May, Skitch Henderson "The Tonight Show Band"

Singers: Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee, Frank Sinatra, Gary Crosby, Pat Boone, Barbara Streisand, The Supremes, Vic Damone, Nancy Wilson, Nat King Cole, Sarah Vaughn, etc. etc.

Over 300 Motion Pictures under: Lalo Schiffren, Henry Mancini, Nelson Riddle, Andre Previn, and many others. T.V. Shows: Over 3000 TV shows, weekly episodes: Bat Man, Mission Impossible, Mannix, Munsters, Addams Family, etc. He also made several albums with his own quintet, and an Album with good friend Max Roach entitled "Drumming the Blues". Stan Levey retired from the Music Business in 1973. His last musical job was composing and conducting five movies for the Disney Corp.

Most of Levey's recorded work was as a sideman, though a great outing he recorded as a leader in 1957 is once again available on the VSOP label, entitled "Stan Levey Quintet." Examples of his drumming with a large number of groups of all sizes are hard to find, and include works with Shorty Rogers ("Portrait of Shorty" and "Shorty Rogers Plays Richard Rodgers, both from 1957 on the RCA label), with Bill Harris on "Bill Harris and Friends" (1957: Fantasy label ) and on "Stan Getz Meets Gerry Mulligan" (1957: Verve label).

Levey could, as they say, "cut a Vegas show" better than anyone, and a great example of this can be heard on "Peggy Lee Live At Basin Street" from 1960 on the Capitol label.

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Book Review

Stan Levey: Jazz Heavyweight

Read "Stan Levey: Jazz Heavyweight" reviewed by Chuck Koton

Stan Levey: Jazz Heavyweight Frank R. Hayde 224Pages ISBN: #13978-1-59580-086-2 Santa Monica Press 2016 When one thinks of Bebop, the names Bird and Dizzy along with Monk, Max and Bud immediately pop up. In the mind's eye, one can see those classic Herman Leonard jazz photos of these Cats playin' in smoke-filled clubs like Minton's in Harlem and the 3 Deuces on 52nd Street. But someone else, virtually unknown, by comparison, deserves to ...

Book Review

Stan Levey: Jazz Heavyweight

Read "Stan Levey: Jazz Heavyweight" reviewed by David A. Orthmann

Stan Levey: Jazz Heavyweight Frank R. Hayde 224 Pages ISBN: #13-978-1-59580-086-2 Santa Monica Press 2016 During the course of Stan Levey: Jazz Heavyweight, Frank R. Hayde integrates Levey's personal perspective by frequently including excerpts of interviews released with the cooperation of the drummer's family. In a little over two hundred pages, Hayde's third person narrative and Levey's commentary illuminate a large complicated life filled with musical and personal transformations. Not unlike a ...

Book Review

Drummer Stan Levey Improvised His Life with a Steady Beat

Read "Drummer Stan Levey Improvised His Life with a Steady Beat" reviewed by Victor L. Schermer

Stan Levey: Jazz Heavyweight Frank R. Hayde 224 Pages ISBN: # 13-978-1595800862 Santa Monica Press 2016 The word “Heavyweight" in the title of this fast-paced biography of the late great jazz drummer Stan Levey is not just a metaphor for his reputation as a musician. Levey, in addition to having been a revered drummer who helped jump-start the bebop movement, was also a fair to middlin' prize fighter! Growing up in Prohibition ...

Film Review

Stan Levey: The Original Original

Read "Stan Levey: The Original Original" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Stan Levey The Original Original StanArt Productions 2004

One of the real pleasures for me during the 32nd annual conference of the International Association for Jazz Education (IAJE) last January in Long Beach, CA, was shaking hands with one of the great drummers of the bop era and beyond, Stan Levey, who was there to promote a new autobiographical DVD, Stan Levey: “The Original Original."? Stan hasn't played drums in a number of years, ...

Album Review

Ben Webster: Soulville

Read "Soulville" reviewed by John Ballon

I accidentally lucked into the music of Ben Webster while sifting through the “W" section of some dusty used record bin years ago. The cover looked cool, with its classic profile shot of an unsmiling, world-weary Webster featured beneath the boldly printed title, Soulville. I impulsively bought the disc, took it home, and a few days later got around to playing it. Whoa! Had I stumbled onto something BIG? From that record on, I no longer thought of jazz as ...

Album Review

Ben Webster: Soulville

Read "Soulville" reviewed by David Rickert

A photograph on the inside of Soulville 's CD cover shows Webster with his head tilted back, eyelids drooping and a cigarette dangling from his mouth. It’s a great photo, simply because Webster approaches soloing in much the same way. A relaxed and patient improviser who first made his name with Ellington’s band playing one definitive solo after another, the tenor saxophonist really blossomed once he struck out as a solo artist where he wasn’t boxed in by the confines ...

Album Review

Hampton Hawes: The Sermon

Read "The Sermon" reviewed by David Rickert

Hampton Hawes recorded The Sermon a few days before he was sent to prison for five years on drug charges. The session remained imprisoned for much longer, only receiving a brief release after Hawes’ death. Finally out on CD, The Sermon, as one might expect, is an album of spirituals and church hymns given the jazz treatment. This concept has been tried before, but many of these projects are too solemn and reverent, or feature less jazz than ...

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Drummer Bob Levey, Son of Legendary Bebop Pioneer Stan Levey Returns to the Scene with "Homey" by His Group "The Intervention Band"

Drummer Bob Levey, Son of Legendary Bebop Pioneer Stan Levey Returns to the Scene with "Homey" by His Group "The Intervention Band"

Source: CHC Network

Drummer Bob Levey who left music to raise his family, and build a highly successful business, has returned to the scene with his group The Intervention Band on a refreshing new CD entitled Homey.

Colorado based drummer Bob Levey and his Intervention Band have released a refreshing new CD entitled Homey.

Levey is the son of Bop Drummer Stan Levey http://www.stanlevey.com, one of the premiere storytellers in Ken Burns' “Jazz" documentary, who is considered one of the earliest bebop drummers, ...



Stan Levey: Bebop/West Coast Drummer & Photographer

Stan Levey: Bebop/West Coast Drummer & Photographer

Source: All About Jazz

Born: April 5, 1926 in Philadelphia, PA Died: April 20, 2005 in Van Nuys, CA

Stan Levey was born in 1926 in Philadelphia. When he was sixteen he met Dizzy Gillespie and was hired for the trumpeter’s rhythm section. Not long thereafter he followed his boss to New York City, where the two men, along with Charlie Parker, Max Roach and others, helped formulate the bebop revolution. Bebop was largely seen as a black man’s music, a response ...


Video / DVD

Stan Levey "The Original Original" - New DVD Documentary

Stan Levey "The Original Original" - New DVD Documentary

Source: All About Jazz

StanArt Productions of Hollywood, CA has just released a new DVD documentary about the life and times of jazz bop pioneer drummer Stan Levey. Stan Levey takes you on a musical journey from the birth of bebop through the Big Band era, to the “west coast, cool school" of modern jazz music. Along for the ride are special appearances from his friends: Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Charlie Watts, Quincy Jones, Hank Jones, Bill Holman, Lee Konitz, Howard Rumsey, Bill Henderson, ...


Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

The Lost Tapes Of...

Verve Records


Grand Stan

Unknown label



Verve Music Group


The Sermon

Contemporary Records


This Time The Drum's...

Point Entertainment




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