Lou Levy (pianist)

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Lou Levy
Stan Getz & Lou Levy (Amsterdam, 1959)
Stan Getz & Lou Levy (Amsterdam, 1959)
Background information
Born(1928-03-05)March 5, 1928
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
DiedJanuary 23, 2001(2001-01-23) (aged 72)
Dana Point, California, U.S.
Years active1947–2000
LabelsNocturne, Warner Bros., RCA, Atlantic, Verve

Louis A. "Lou" Levy (March 5, 1928 – January 23, 2001)[1] was an American jazz pianist.


Levy was born to Jewish parents in Chicago, Illinois, United States,[1] and start to play the piano aged twelve. His chief influences were Art Tatum and Bud Powell.

A professional at age nineteen, Levy played with Georgie Auld (1947 and later), Sarah Vaughan, Chubby Jackson (1947–1948), Boyd Raeburn, Woody Herman's Second Herd (1948–1950), Tommy Dorsey (1950) and Flip Phillips.[2] Levy left music for a few years in the early 1950s and then returned to gain a strong reputation as an accompanist to singers, working with Peggy Lee (1955–1973), Ella Fitzgerald (1957–1962), June Christy, Anita O'Day and Pinky Winters.[2] Levy also played with Dizzy Gillespie, Shorty Rogers, Stan Getz, Terry Gibbs, Benny Goodman, Supersax and most of the major West Coast players.[2] Levy recorded as a leader for Nocturne (1954), RCA, Jubilee, Philips, Interplay (1977), and Verve.

Levy died of a heart attack in Dana Point, California at the age of 72.[1]

Selected discography[edit]

As leader[edit]

Year recorded Title Label Notes
1954? The Lou Levy Trio Nocturne reissued on Fresh Sound, 1988
1955 West Coast Wailers Atlantic Quintet, with Conte Candoli (trumpet), Bill Holman (tenor sax), Leroy Vinnegar (bass), Lawrence Marable (drums)[3]
1956 Solo Scene RCA Solo piano[4][5]
1956 Jazz in Four Colors RCA Quartet, with Larry Bunker (vibraphone), Leroy Vinnegar (bass), Stan Levey (drums)[5]
1956–57 A Most Musical Fella BMG/RCA/Cloud 9 Trio, with Max Bennett (bass), Stan Levey (drums)[6]
1958 Lou Levy Plays Baby Grand Jazz Jubilee Trio, with Max Bennett (bass), Gus Johnson (drums)[7]
1962 The Hymn Trio, with Max Bennett (bass), Stan Levey (drums)[8]
1977 Tempus Fugue-It Interplay Trio, with Fred Atwood (bass), John Dentz (drums)[9]
1978 Touch of Class Dobre Trio, with Fred Atwood (bass), John Dentz (drums)[10]
1982 The Kid's Got Ears Jazziz Three tracks solo piano; three tracks duo, with John Heard (bass); four tracks trio, with Shelly Manne (drums) added[11]
1993? Lunarcy Verve Quartet, with Pete Christlieb (tenor sax), Eric Von Essen (bass), Ralph Penland (drums)[4]
1993 Ya Know Verve/Polygram Most tracks quartet, with Eric Von Essen (cello, bass), Pierre Michelot (bass), Alvin Queen (drums)[12]
1995? By Myself Verve Solo piano[4]

As sideman[edit]

Date Artist Album title Label Notes
1957 Manny Albam The Jazz Greats of Our Time – Vol. 2 Coral
1957 Manny Albam West Coast Delivery – Jazz Lab Vol. 12 Coral
1963 Georgie Auld Quintet The Georgie Auld Quintet Plays the Winners Philips
1963 Georgie Auld Sextet Here's to the Losers Philips
1962 Louis Bellson Big Band Jazz from the Summit Roulette
1966 Tony Bennett The Movie Song Album Columbia Levy on three tracks
1956 Elmer Bernstein The Man with the Golden Arm Decca
1997 Dee Dee Bridgewater Dear Ella Verve
1978 Ruth Brown You Don't Know Me Dobre Records
1955 Conte Candoli Conte Candoli Bethlehem
1976 Pete Christlieb / Warne Marsh Apogee Warner
1976 Pete Christlieb Self Portrait Bosco With Warne Marsh
1977 June Christy Impromptu Interplay Supervised by Bob Cooper
1981 Al Cohn Nonpareil Concord Jazz Released in 1992
1958 Bob Cooper Coop! The Music of Bob Cooper Contemporary
1991 Bob Cooper Quartet For All We Know Fresh Sound
1959 Herb Ellis w/ Jimmy Giuffre Herb Ellis Meets Jimmy Giuffre Verve
1963 Herb Ellis w/ Stuff Smith Together Epic
1989 Art Farmer Central Avenue Reunion Contemporary
1958 Ella Fitzgerald Ella in Rome: The Birthday Concert Verve Released in 1988
1958 Ella Fitzgerald Ella Swings Lightly Verve
1959 Ella Fitzgerald Ella Fitzgerald Sings the George and Ira Gershwin Songbook Verve
1959 Ella Fitzgerald Get Happy! Verve
1961 Ella Fitzgerald Ella in Hollywood Verve
1961 Ella Fitzgerald Ella Returns to Berlin Verve
1961 Ella Fitzgerald Clap Hands, Here Comes Charlie! Verve
1957 Herb Geller Fire in the West Jubilee
1955 Stan Getz, Shelly Manne, Leroy Vinnegar, Conte Candoli West Coast Jazz Norgran/Verve
1957 Stan Getz The Steamer Verve
1957 Stan Getz Stan Getz and the Cool Sounds Verve Levy on four tracks
1958 Stan Getz The Great English Concert 1958 Jazz Groove Six (of eleven) tracks with Getz (others feat. Coleman Hawkins and Roy Eldridge with nearly the same rhythm section)
1957 Stan Getz Award Winner
1957 Stan Getz Getz Meets Mulligan
1959 Stan Getz Stan Getz and Gerry Mulligan / Stan Getz and the Oscar Peterson Trio Verve Levy on the two tracks with Getz and Mulligan (see also Gerry Mulligan
1981 Stan Getz The Dolphin Concord Jazz
1981 Stan Getz Quartet Spring Is Here Concord Jazz Released in 1992
1957 Terry Gibbs and Bill Harris Woodchoppers' Ball Premier Albums
1957 Terry Gibbs A Jazz Band Ball (Second Set) Mode
1959 Terry Gibbs Dream Band The Sundown Sessions, Vol. 2 Contemporary Live recording, released in 1987
1959 Terry Gibbs Dream Band Flying Home, Vol. 3 Contemporary Live recordings, released in 1988. Levy on four tracks
1959 Terry Gibbs Dream Band One More Time, Vol. 6 Contemporary Live recordings, released in 2002. Levy on four tracks
1982 Terry Gibbs & His West Coast Friends My Buddy Atlas
1955 Lionel Hampton and Stan Getz Hamp and Getz Norgran
1958 Coleman Hawkins and Roy Eldridge The Great English Concert 1958 Jazz Groove Five (of eleven) tracks (others feat. Stan Getz with nearly the same rhythm section)
1958 Coleman Hawkins Septet Lover Man et al. (various labels) Live recordings; two tracks with Levy from the Jazz Festival in Antibes, France: "Undecided" and "Indian Summer"; first released maybe in 1987 or earlier
1960 Coleman Hawkins & Friends Bean Stalkin' Pablo Live recording from Paris, France, released in 1988; four (of six) tracks with a sextet feat. Levy and Benny Carter
1948f Woody Herman and His Orchestra Woody Herman Second Herd Capitol
1957 Quincy Jones Go West, Man! ABC-Paramount Levy on three tracks
1956 Peggy Lee Black Coffee (reissue) Decca The four additional tracks for 12" LP release with Levy
1963 Peggy Lee Mink Jazz Capitol
1965 Peggy Lee Pass Me By Capitol
1955 Stan Levey This Time the Drums on Me Bethlehem
1957 Stan Levey Stan Levey Quintet Mode
1976 Warne Marsh All Music Nessa
1984 Warne Marsh Quartet A Ballad Album Criss Cross Jazz
1978 Charles McPherson Free Bop! Xanadu
1977 Sam Most Flute Flight Xanadu
1957 Gerry Mulligan w/ Stan Getz Gerry Mulligan Meets Stan Getz Verve see also Stan Getz
1954 & 1956 Lennie Niehaus Zounds! (Vol. 2 & 3: The Octet) Contemporary 1958 LP release of both octet sessions prev. issued on 7" and 10"
1957 Lennie Niehaus I Swing for You EmArcy
1960 Anita O'Day Incomparable! Verve
1979 Anita O'Day Mello'day GNP Crescendo Levy also arranger
1955 Shorty Rogers & His Giants Martians Stay Home Atlantic Released 1980
1955 Shorty Rogers Martians Come Back! Atlantic
1955 Shorty Rogers Way Up There Atlantic
1956 Shorty Rogers The Big Shorty Rogers Express RCA Victor
1957 Shorty Rogers Wherever the Five Winds Blow RCA Victor
1958 Shorty Rogers Portrait of Shorty RCA Victor
1960 Shorty Rogers The Swingin' Nutcracker RCA Victor
1959 Sonny Stitt Sonny Stitt Blows the Blues|Verve
1959 Sonny Stitt Saxophone Supremacy Verve
1959 Sonny Stitt Sonny Stitt Swings the Most Verve
1960 Sonny Stitt Previously Unreleased Recordings Verve Released in 1973
1980 Sonny Stitt & His West Coast Friends Groovin' High Atlas With Art Pepper
1975 Supersax Live in '75 – The Japanese Tour Vol. 2 Hindsight Released in 1999
1977 Supersax Chasin' the Bird MPS/Pausa
1979 Supersax MPS/Pausa
1983 Supersax & L.A. Voices L.A. Columbia
1983 Supersax Stone Bird Columbia
1993 Bennie Wallace The Old Songs AudioQuest Levy on two tracks
1985 Pinky Winters Let's Be Buddies Jacqueline With Monty Budwig


  1. ^ a b c Ratliff, Ben (31 January 2001). "Lou Levy, 72, Versatile Pianist For Top Singers in Jazz World". The New York Times.
  2. ^ a b c Colin Larkin, ed. (1992). The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 1470. ISBN 0-85112-939-0.
  3. ^ Ruhlmann, William. "Conte Candoli / Lou Levy: West Coast Wailers". AllMusic. Retrieved February 9, 2020.
  4. ^ a b c Ramsey, Doug (May 1, 1998). "Lou Levy: Lunarcy". JazzTimes. Retrieved February 9, 2020.
  5. ^ a b Myers, Marc (June 10, 2015). "Lou Levy: Jazz in Four Colors". allaboutjazz. Retrieved February 9, 2020.
  6. ^ Yanow, Scott. "Lou Levy: A Most Musical Fella". AllMusic. Retrieved February 9, 2020.
  7. ^ "Lou Levy: Plays Baby Grand Jazz". freshsoundrecords.com. Retrieved February 9, 2020.
  8. ^ Dryden, Ken. "Lou Levy: The Hymn". AllMusic. Retrieved February 9, 2020.
  9. ^ Dryden, Ken. "Lou Levy: Tempus Fugue-It". AllMusic. Retrieved February 9, 2020.
  10. ^ "Lou Levy: My Old Flame". freshsoundrecords.com. Retrieved February 9, 2020.
  11. ^ Yanow, Scott. "Lou Levy: The Kid's Got Ears". AllMusic. Retrieved February 9, 2020.
  12. ^ Yanow, Scott. "Lou Levy: Ya Know". AllMusic. Retrieved February 9, 2020.

External links[edit]