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Stan Levey is one of the most influential drummers in the history of modern jazz. During his extraordinary career, the self-taught Levey played alongside a who’s who of twentieth century jazz artists: Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Stan Getz, Coleman Hawkins, Art Tatum, Ben Webster, Dexter Gordon, Lester Young, Thelonius Monk, Benny Goodman, Woody Herman, Ella Fitzgerald . . . the remarkable list goes on and on, and includes dozens of the most distinguished names in the annals of jazz and popular music.
Jazz Heavyweight follows Levey's prolific and colorful life, from his childhood days in rough-and-tumble North Philadelphia, to his first gig as a drummer for Dizzy Gillespie at the tender age of sixteen, to his meteoric rise as one of the most sought after sidemen in the world of bebop, to his membership in the Lighthouse All-Stars.
Jazz aficionados will relish Jazz Heavyweight for its new, never-before-published information about such hugely influential musicians as Parker, Gillespie, and Davis, while jazz neophytes will find a fast-paced, colorful encapsulation of the entire history of modern jazz. This book is essential reading for anyone seeking an up-close-and-personal look at jazz in the latter half of the twentieth century.
Frank R. Hayde is the author of The Mafia and the Machine: The Story of the Kansas City Mob, and Zion National Park: The Story Behind the Scenery. He lives in Grand Junction, CO.
Charlie Watts is the legendary drummer for the Rolling Stones.