Tony Levin at mac, Birmingham, 9 October 2010 (Photo by Russ Escritt).
We are hugely saddened to report the death of drummer Tony Levin, who passed away today at the age of 71. Tony was a highly regarded jazz drummer and one of our partners on the AHRC KTF project. Together we developed http://tonylevin.org and produced academic research into building British jazz archives.
Tony was highly respected for his performances on several great British jazz albums and performed frequently at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in the 1960s with artists including Joe Harriott, Al Cohn, Harry “Sweets” Edison, Zoot Sims, and Toots Thielemanns.
He was perhaps best known for his work as a member of Tubby Hayes’ Quartet (1965-9), including the seminal record Mexican Green, but also played with numerous groups and artists, including the Alan Skidmore quintet (1969), Humphrey Lyttelton band (1969), John Taylor (1970s), Ian Carr’s Nucleus (1970s), Stan Sulzmann quartet, Gordon Beck’s Gyroscope, European Jazz Ensemble, Third Eye (1979), Rob van den Broeck (1982), Philip Catherine’s trio and quartet (1990s), Sophia Domancich Trio (with Paul Rogers, double bass; 1991-2000) and Philippe Aerts trio and quartet (2000s).
From 1980, Levin worked extensively with saxophonist Paul Dunmall, including as a member of the free jazz quartet Mujician, also with Paul Rogers (double bass) and Keith Tippett (piano).
Tony ran his own monthly club in Birmingham called TL’s Jazz Club and operated his own label, Rare Music Recordings. He had recently completed a successful 70th birthday tour, organised by Birmingham Jazz.
As you can tell from the video below, Tony was a lovely guy, a great storyteller, and a gifted musician. We feel privileged to have known and worked with him. RIP Tony. You will be greatly missed.
For more information, interviews and memorabilia, please visit: http://tonylevin.org.