What do you ask a musician who has traveled the world with the legendary BB King? Levy, a Boston native, has worked as an organist, pianist, composer, arranger, sideman or soloist, producer and A&R man for over 200 recording projects of traditional and contemporary Blues, R&B, Jazz, Gospel, and real deal, hardcore music from New Orleans to Memphis, New York City to the West Coast, Texas and beyond.
Levy has also garnered many awards along with nine Grammy nominations. His original compositions and recordings have been used on every television network and over a dozen films.
Examiner sat down with Levy to find out more about his illustrious career in music.
Examiner: When did you first start working in the music industry on a professional level?
Levy: "In the late 1960's I played back up for some of the greatest musicians of the time: Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, Otis Spann, John Lee Hooker and others.
Then at the age of eighteen I began touring as the organist for Blues legend Albert King for a few years.
Soon after I joined the King of Blues, Mr. BB King for seven years. I recorded several albums with King including the classic Grammy Award-winning “Live at Cook County Jail" and also appeared in the Oscar winning film, "When we were Kings." We did many television shows back in the day: Ed Sullivan, Merv Griffin, The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, Hugh Hefner's Playboy Mansion and an HBO special called, "BB King, Live in Africa."
Examiner: Who is the first person you saw that inspired you to get into the music business?
Levy: "I went to my first concert alone in 1964. I saw Ray Charles perform. The very next day, I started piano lessons. Throughout high school I picked up a number of musical instruments, clarinet and alto and baritone sax, but I was never any good at them."
Examiner: At one point you joined the well known Roomful of Blues Band that has catapulted some of the areas best known musicians?
Levy: "In the early 1980's I went on to tour with Luther “Guitar Jr.” Johnson and Roomful of Blues."
Examiner: You stepped away from your full time role as a musician to produce others and founded a record label?
Levy: "I became an integral session man, arranger and Associate Producer for New Orleans’ fabled Blacktop Records which opened the doors for me to co-found Rounder’s Bullseye Blues Records with over ninety record releases distributed by Mercury Records.
In 1997 I became co-founder, producer and A&R representative for Cannonball Records. We recorded eighteen releases and received W.C. Handy Awards as well as nine Grammy nominations."
Examiner: I understand that you've written a book about your travels, "Tales of a Road Dog?"
Levy: "Yes I have. I think it will give readers a history of what the music business was like working and traveling with some of the greatest musicians of all time. It's the lowdown along the blues highway."
Visit www.Levtron.com for all things Levy!