Stan Levey (1926 - 2005)
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Stan Levey, one of the strongest drummers of his generation, was born in Philadelphia in 1926. He was one of the very few white drummers involved in the formative years of bebop and accepted as one of bop's most important drummers, along with Kenny Clarke and Max Roach. He played in Philly with Dizzy Gillespie's group in 1942, at the tender age of 16. Soon after he went to New York, where he and Dizzy worked on 52nd Street with Charlie Parker and Oscar Pettiford. After his tenure with the Stan Kenton Orchestra he moved to the west coast in 1954, joining Howard Rumsey and the Lighthouse All-Stars, and was a major influence in what was called "west coast jazz" or the "cool school". Levey's crisp, melodic style continued to have more in common with bop than cool, and he inspired every group he ever played in. Stan has played on over 2000 recordings. He has performed with most of the greatest names in the music business. People such as:

Instrumentalists: Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Coleman Hawkins, Art Tatum, Ben Webster, Dexter Gordon, Errol Garner, Miles Davis, George Shearing, Lester Young, Roy Eldrige, Zoot Sims, Al Cohn, 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, Oscar Peterson, Don Byas, Conte Candoli, Joe Thomas, Billy Taylor, Bob Cooper, Al Haig, Milt Jackson, Lucky Thompson, Chuck Wayne, Richie Kamuca, Norman Granz, Bill Holman, Howard Rumsey, Chet Baker, Frank Rosolino, Joe Mondragon, Herb Ellis, Thelonius Monk, Chris Conner, Allen Eager, Jack Sheldon, Hank Jones, Shorty Rogers and many more...

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

Singers: Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee, Frank Sinatra, Gary Crosby, Pat Boone, Barbra Streisand, The Supremes, Vic Damone, Nancy Wilson, Nat King Cole, Sarah Vaughn, Billie Holiday, Bobby Darin, June Christy, Mel Torme, and many more...

Over 300 motion pictures under: Lalo Schifrin, Henry Mancini, Nelson Riddle, Andre Previn, Neil Hefti, and many others...

TV shows: Over 3000 TV shows, weekly episodes of Batman, Mission Impossible, Mannix, The Munsters, The Addams Family, Route 66, etc...

Stan retired from the music business in 1973 to devote his creative energies full time to his photography career. His life story is chronicled in a volume entitled "Stanley Levey, Central and Beyond" that is a featured part of the UCLA Library of Oral Jazz History. He also holds a place in the Smithsonian Institute with Dizzy Gillespie.

Stan Levey recently passed away on April 19, 2005 at the age of 79. Stan was a true original who moved to the beat of a different drum. He was a great friend and partner and will be greatly missed by all of his friends and family who knew and loved him very much. - Arthur Shelby Pritz

"Listen through your ears, and play it from your heart" - Stan Levey

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