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Jazz April Birthday # 11: John Levy | April 11, 2013

John Levy  1912-2012credit:  CAROLYN COLE / Los Angeles Times]

John Levy 1912-2012
credit: CAROLYN COLE / Los Angeles Times]

An accomplished bassist who was in the original George Shearing Quintet, John Levy became the first African-American personal manager in the jazz field.  His clients included Cannonball Adderley, Betty Carter, Herbie Mann, Freddie Hubbard, George Shearing, Joe Williams and Nancy Wilson.

As a bassist, he worked in Chicago and New York with jazz violinist Stuff Smith, Ben Webster, Milt Jackson and Erroll Garner . Levy also backed Billie Holiday in her legendary sold-out Comeback Concert at Carnegie Hall in 1948.

Levy produced two books:  his 2001 biography, “Men, Women, and Girl Singers: My Life As a Musician Turned Talent Manager” and a photographic memoir “Strollin’:  A Jazz Life Through John Levy’s Personal Lens.”  Levy was honored in 2006 as a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master.

“We are put on this earth for a reason: to help people reach their potential.  I’d like to be remembered as someone who made it possible for George Shearing, Cannonball Adderley, Nancy Wilson, Wes Montgomery and dozens of others to bring music and joy into the lives of audiences all over the world.”–John Levy

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    A blog about Jazz, Blues, Latin Jazz, New Orleans, musician's stories and more. My name is Robin Lloyd and I've been involved in jazz radio and the music business for over 30 years. This is my personal blog.

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