May 29th – Today in Blues music History at Mojohand.com
May 29th – Today in Blues Music History at Mojohand.com
Happy Birthday to Ron Levy, born May 29, 1959
Mojohand.com – the home of Everything Blues.
Organist/pianist Ron Levy has devoted most of his career to keeping the flame of funky, bluesy soul-jazz alive. Born Reuvin Zev ben Yehoshua Ha Levi in 1959 in Cambridge, MA, Levy played clarinet as a child but switched to piano after seeing Ray Charles at age 13. When he encountered the music of Jimmy Smith, Billy Preston, and Booker T. & the MG’s, he fell in love with the Hammond B-3 and made the switch. Levy began working the Boston blues club scene as a teenager, and was hired by Albert King in 1971, before even graduating from high school. He spent a year and a half with King, and then joined B.B. King’s backing band, where he remained for the next seven years. He also began working with the Rhythm Rockers in 1976, an association that lasted four years, and then became a member of Roomful of Blues from 1983-1987. It was during that time that Levy recorded his first session as a leader, 1985’s Ron Levy’s Wild Kingdomfor the Black Top label. Safari in New Orleans followed in 1988, after which Levy moved to the Bullseye Blues label, where he eventually became an in-house producer (an area where he’s garnered seven Grammy nominations). His albums for Bullseye Blues include 1992’s B-3 Blues and Grooves and 1996’s Zim Zam Zoom: Acid Blues on B-3. 1998’s Greaze Is What’s Good (recorded for Cannonball) featured an all-star roster of guests, including Freddie Hubbard, Melvin Sparks, David T. Walker, Steve Turre, Idris Muhammad, and Preston Shannon. Since 1988 Levy hasn’t released anything under his own name, but continues to tour regularly and collaborate with and produce artists like Jimmy King, Karl Denison and Charles Earland.