O'Donel Levy

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O'Donel Levy (20 September 1945 – 14 March 2016) was a jazz and funk guitarist from Baltimore, Maryland.

Levy studied at the Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. He moved to New York City and toured with George Benson and Jimmy McGriff.[1]

He released his debut album, Black Velvet, in 1970 on Groove Merchant.[2] This was followed by a live album recorded at the Cook County Jail in Chicago in 1972. Levy performed as a member of the Jimmy McGriff quintet.[3]

His album Breeding of Mind (Groove Merchant, 1974) crossed the genres of jazz, funk, and pop. He recorded it with Charles Covington, Chester Thompson, and Eric Ward, with arrangements by Manny Albam.[4] Simba (1973) was arranged by Albam, produced by Sonny Lester, and recorded with Warren Bernhardt, Cecil Bridgewater, Eddie Daniels, Jon Faddis, Steve Gadd, Tony Levin, Lew Soloff, and Bill Watrous.[5] Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky (1974) drew attention because of its risqué album cover.[6]

Levy's song "Bad, Bad Simba" from the 1973 album Simba was covered by Paprika Soul in 2001. Paprika Soul's version has been heard on The Weather Channel local forecasts in September 2001, again in October 2007 (to promote the album The Weather Channel Presents: The Best of Smooth Jazz, in which the song also appears in), and again since March 2016 as part of the return of their smooth jazz music.


As sideman[edit]

With Groove Holmes

With Jimmy McGriff


  1. ^ "Welcome to Baltimore Sounds". Baltimore Sounds. 25 May 2016. Retrieved 1 August 2017.
  2. ^ Ankeny, Jason. "Black Velvet". AllMusic. Retrieved 1 August 2017.
  3. ^ Yanow, Scott. "Friday the 13th at the Cook County Jail - George Freeman,O'Donel Levy,Jimmy McGriff,Lucky Thompson | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 1 August 2017.
  4. ^ Ankeny, Jason. "Breeding of Mind". AllMusic. Retrieved 1 August 2017.
  5. ^ "Simba". AllMusic. Retrieved 1 August 2017.
  6. ^ Bacher, Danielle (26 March 2012). "Top Ten Sexiest Album Covers We've Ever Seen". L.A. Weekly. Retrieved 1 August 2017.
  7. ^ Jazzlists: O'Donel Levy Discography, accessed March 26, 2018
  8. ^ "O'Donel Levy". AllMusic. Retrieved 1 August 2017.