Al Levitt

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Alan Levitt (November 11, 1932 – November 28, 1994) was an American jazz drummer.

Early life[edit]

Levitt was born in New York City. Early in life he showed an interest in music. In high school he used to play hooky with friends and visit Thelonious Monk's apartment around the corner, where they would beg him to play. Monk never did play for them and would play for them only his favorite jazz albums in exchange for pot or change. Levitt studied with Lennie Tristano for many years, along with Lee Konitz. Levitt also studied occasionally with Max Roach.

Later life and career[edit]

In the New York jazz scene, Levitt frequented all the popular jazz clubs and sat in with many of the greats, including Charlie Parker. One of his favorite stories was running into Parker on a frigid winter morning with Parker wearing nothing more than a Superman t-shirt and a blazer. Parker borrowed $5 from him and that was the last time Levitt ever saw him. Parker died in 1955.

After moving to the Canary Islands, Spain, in 1973 with Stella his common law wife and her five children, Robby, Billy, Teresa, Sean and Minou, Levitt played there with Canadian saxophonist Loyd Thompson, Dutch pianist Nikko Bunik ,and American trumpeter and jazz club owner Don Jeter. Moving then to Madrid, Levitt played with many jazz artists, such as Spanish pianist Pedro Itturalde.

Moving to France in 1975, Levitt again met and played with his friends from the U.S. In Paris he founded his own group with jazz musicians such as Alain Jean Marie. His group consisted of Stella on vocals, Sean on guitar, Alain Jean Marie on piano and Gus Nemeth on bass, among others. During this time Levitt toured and played with Paul Bley, Lee Konitz and Warne Marsh, Jimmy Raney, Dexter Gordon, Harry "Sweets" Edison and Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, J.J. Johnson, Stan Getz, Chet Baker, Jimmy Gourley, Peter Ind, Martial Solal, René Urtreger, Pierre Michelot, Michel Petrucciani, Clark Terry, Dorothy Donegan, Barney Wilen, and others.

Levitt was a contributing writer for Jazz Hot magazine in France. He died in Paris.

Education[edit]

Levitt studied piano with Moses Chusids in high school, and studied drums under Irv Kluger in 1949-50.

Accompanied[edit]

In the early 1950s Levitt played with

The Netherlands/Paris[edit]

He moved to The Netherlands in 1956, playing there with Pia Beck. Thereafter he played in Paris with

United States[edit]

After returning to the United States in 1958, he played with

In 1968 he recorded for ESP-Disk along with his wife Stella, and his stepson Sean

Canary Islands[edit]

In 1973 Levitt moved to the Canary Islands. He played with Pedro Itturalde in Spain and led his own group. Moving to Paris again in 1975, he played in Europe with

Group leader[edit]

Levitts - We Are The Levitts - ESP-Disk 1095 (1969)

He also co-led a group with Nathalie Loriers.

References[edit]