Pete Levin

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Pete Levin
PeteLevin PhotogSamanthaLevin 2010.jpg
Levin performing with the Lou Marini Quintet in 2010
Background information
Born (1942-12-20) December 20, 1942 (age 74)
Boston, Massachusetts
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s) musician, band leader
Instruments French horn, hammond organ, clavinet, moog synthesizer
Years active 1960s–present
Labels Motéma Music
Alternate Mode
Associated acts Gil Evans Orchestra
Jimmy Giuffre
Tony Levin
The Clams

Pete Levin (born December 20, 1942) is an American jazz keyboardist, composer and horn player.


Pete Levin grew up in Brookline, Massachusetts. His first instrument as a teenager was the French horn.[1] He studied at Boston University and received a master's degree from Juilliard School of music in New York City.[2] In the early 1970s he joined the Gil Evans Orchestra as a French horn player. At the time, Levin was experimenting with synthesizers. Over time Gil Evans incorporated Levin's synthesizer sound into the compositions and Levin's role changed to a full-time keyboardist.[3] His fifteen-year association with the Gil Evans Orchestra was followed by an eight-year association with Jimmy Giuffre.[4]

Levin plays the hammond organ, clavinet and moog synthesizer.[4] He has produced several albums as a band leader including the 2007 Deacon Blues. In 2014 he released a collaborative album with his brother, bassist Tony Levin, titled Levin Brothers.[5] The album is a tribute to and styled after the works of Oscar Pettiford and Julius Watkins.[6] Levin has performed for film and television scores including Missing in Action, Lean on Me, Silver Bullet, Red Scorpion, The Color of Money, Maniac, Spin City, America's Most Wanted and Star Trek. He has written scores of his own for Zelimo and The Dybbuk. He was awarded the Army Commendation Medal for writing the official military band arrangement of the U.S. Infantry song.[1][4]

He has worked with a wide range of artists including Carla Bley, Brubeck Brothers, Hiram Bullock, Jimmy Cobb, Billy Cobham, Willie Colón, Miles Davis, Rachelle Farrell, Bryan Ferry, Gregory Hines, Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Band, Annie Lennox, Chuck Mangione, Charles Mingus, Gerry Mulligan, Jaco Pastorius, Robbie Robertson, Salt-n-Pepa, David Sanborn, John Scofield, Wayne Shorter, Paul Simon, Lew Soloff, Vanessa Williams, and Lenny White.[1][4]

Regarding his creative work, Levin stated that "All my arranging and orchestrating work is grounded in what I experience in live performance (...) My best and most creative ideas come from playing live."[4]


Partially adapted from AllMusic.[7] This list is incomplete.

As leader[edit]

  • IridiumLive 008: 4-18-2012 (E1 Entertainment / Iridium Live, 2013)
  • Jump! (Independent, 2010)
  • Certified Organic (Independent, 2008)
  • Deacon Blues (Motéma, 2007)
  • A Solitary Man (Gramavision, 1991)
  • Party in the Basement (Gramavision, 1990)

As co-leader[edit]

  • Levin Brothers (Lazy Bones, 2014) with Tony Levin
  • Masters in This Hall: The New Age of Christmas (Gramavision, 1990) with Danny Gottlieb

As sideman[edit]

With Gil Evans
With Jimmy Giuffre
With Brubeck Brothers
  • Second Nature (Blue Forest, 2000)
  • Intuition (Koch, 2006)
With others


  1. ^ a b c "Allmusic: Pete Levin – Biography". Archived from the original on February 12, 2015. Retrieved February 11, 2015. 
  2. ^ John W. Barry (February 23, 2007). "Indulge in Levin's Love of Jazz". Poughkeepsie, New York: Poughkeepsie Journal. Retrieved February 15, 2015. (subscription required (help)). 
  3. ^ Larry Hicock (May 16, 2002). Castles Made Of Sound: The Story Of Gil Evans. Da Capo Press. pp. 184–. ISBN 9780306809453. Retrieved May 8, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "All About Jazz: Pete Levin – Biography". All About Jazz. Archived from the original on July 7, 2014. Retrieved February 11, 2015. 
  5. ^ "Levin Brothers – Tony Levin, Pete Levin & Levin Brothers". iTunes Store. September 9, 2014. Retrieved February 15, 2015. 
  6. ^ Ken Micallef (February 2015). "Levin Brothers Express Love for 'Cool' School" (PDF). DownBeat magazine. p. 16. Retrieved February 15, 2015. 
  7. ^ "Allmusic: Pete Levin – Credits". Archived from the original on February 13, 2015. Retrieved February 12, 2015. 

External links[edit]