[members-announce] One of 7 New NEA Jazz Masters
devra at devrahall.com
Tue Sep 13 08:24:33 EDT 2005
*_FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE_*
*JOHN LEVY NAMED /NEA JAZZ MASTER - / THE NATION'S HIGHEST HONOR IN
THIS DISTINCTIVELY AMERICAN ART FORM*
/(//September 13, 2005// - Los //Angeles//, //CA//)/ National
Endowment for the Arts Chairman Dana Gioia announced today that John
Levy is one of the seven living legends of American music who will join
the ranks of the National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters in
January. Levy will receive the /A.B. Spellman //NEA Jazz Masters Award
for Jazz Advocacy/, for his career as a manager.
When notified, Levy said, "I have been in attendance at the last three
NEA Jazz Masters ceremonies and not in my wildest imagination did I
expect to ever receive this most prestigious award. To be so honored
for helping talented artists bring jazz and joy into the lives of
audiences is the thrill of a lifetime."
Levy, the great-grandson of Louisiana slaves, was born in New Orleans in
1912 and is considered to be the first black talent manager in jazz and
popular music. He has made millions of dollars for his clients bringing
them from sometimes-total anonymity to the rarefied atmosphere of success.
The vast and impressive roster of notables handled by John Levy over the
past 50 years includes more than 85 artists, eight of whom are already
NEA Jazz Masters: Betty Carter, Herbie Hancock, Shirley Horn, Ahmad
Jamal, Abby Lincoln, Billy Taylor, Joe Williams, and Nancy Wilson; and
one more, Freddie Hubbard, who will join the ranks with him in 2006.
Other notable clients on the Levy roster through the years include
Cannonball Adderley, Ernie Andrews, Brook Benton, Randy Crawford,
Roberta Flack, Arsenio Hall, Eddie Harris, Johnny Hartman, Henry
Johnson, Etta Jones, Yusef Lateef, Ramsey Lewis, Herbie Mann, Letta
Mbulu, Les McCann, Wes Montgomery, Billy Paul, Dianne Reeves, Marlena
Shaw, George Shearing, Dakota Staton, Stanley Turrentine, Sarah Vaughan,
and Maxine Weldon.
Levy began his jazz career as a bassist. In 1944, he left Chicago with
the Stuff Smith Trio to play an extended engagement at the Onyx club on
New York City's 52^nd Street. Over the next years, he was to play with
many jazz notables, including Ben Webster, Buddy Rich, Errol Garner, and
Milt Jackson (also a Jazz Master), as well as with Billie Holiday at her
comeback performance at Carnegie Hall in 1948.
In 1949, George Shearing heard Levy play at Birdland with Buddy Rich's
big band and hired him for his own group, which featured Buddy DeFranco
(yet another 2006 Jazz Master Fellow). As Levy toured the country
playing with the original George Shearing Quintet, he gradually took on
the role of road manager. Levy put aside performing in 1951 to become
the group's full-time manager, making music-industry history and
establishing the career he would follow for the rest of his life. Levy
is still active today as manager of the legendary song stylist Nancy
Wilson and jazz vocalist Clairdee.
When "Men, Women, and Girl Singers" (Levy's autobiography written by his
wife, Devra Hall Levy) was published in 2001, Levy said, "I'd like to be
remembered as someone who helped musicians and singers spread the love
of jazz around the world." It seems only fitting that the NEA honor him
Initiated in 1982, the NEA Jazz Master title is the nation's highest
honor in this distinctively American art form. Levy is looking forward
to joining his 2006 Fellows - Ray Barretto (percussionist), Tony Bennett
(vocalist), Bob Brookmeyer (arranger-composer), Chick Corea
(keyboardist), Buddy DeFranco (solo instrumentalist, clarinet), and
Freddy Hubbard (solo instrumentalist, trumpet) - at the January 2006
awards ceremony in New York City.
# # #
For more information about John Levy, visit www.lushlife.com
For more information on NEA Jazz Masters, visit
About John Levy - Regina Davis, Davis & Associates Public Relations.
Telephone: 626.356.1300 . Email: Rdavisprpr at aol.com
<mailto:Rdavisprpr at aol.com>
About NEA Jazz Masters - Victoria Hutter, National Endowment for the Arts
Telephone: 202.682.5692 . Email: hutterv at arts.endow.gov
<mailto:hutterv at arts.endow.gov>
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