John Levy, Jazz Master

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We got word today that renowned jazz musician-turned-manager, John Levy, has died– just three months shy of his 100th birthday. Levy made a profound impact on the jazz world. As a bassist he jammed, played and recorded with Ben Webster, George Shearing, Billie Holiday, Art Tatum and many other greats. But later, Levy took his love of jazz and applied it to the business side of music: He became the first African-American Jazz artist’s manager. His management roster featured Nancy Wilson, Joe Williams, Ramsey Lewis, and Shirley Horn, to name a few.

Levy achieved much in his career, perhaps because his work as a musician had given him an “insider’s” understanding of the music business and the needs of his clients. He was inducted into the International Jazz Hall of Fame in 1997. And, in 2006, the National Endowment for the Arts named Levy a Jazz Master. This archival Fishko Files, “John Levy, Jazz Master,” was produced on the occasion of his 2006 Jazz Master honor.


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Executive Producer: Sara Fishko

Assistant Producer: Laura Mayer

Mix Engineer: Wayne Shulmister

WNYC Newsroom Editor: Karen Frillmann