Stan Levey

Drummer Stan Levey was the backbone of the Dizzy Gillespie-led unit that influential jazz critic Leonard Feather dubbed "the first genuine all-bebop group to play on 52nd Street," virtually defining the shape and sound of jazz in the modern era.

Levey was born April 5, 1926, in Philadelphia -- the son of a car salesman and boxing promoter, he was a self-taught prodigy who at 16 entered a local club headlined by Gillespie, convincing the trumpeter to let him sit in on drums. Gillespie was so impressed by the teen's powerful yet tasteful playing that he extended an offer to join the group full-time -- Levey quit high school immediately thereafter, playing clubs at night and cleaning cars on his father's lot by day.

Fellow jazz musicians derided Gillespie for recruiting a white, Jewish 16-year-old to anchor his band -- "Show me a better black drummer and I'll hire him," Gillespie...

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Albums featuring Stan Levey

63 records