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Jazz Master John Levy Dies at 99

Published on Tuesday, January 24, 2012 | 6:25 am

Jazz Master John Levy died in his sleep at his home in Altadena last Friday. He was 99.

His wife, Devra Hall, said that Levy was sleeping in her arms when his heart gave out.

New Orlean-born Levy to have celebrated his 100th birthday on April 11.

Levy’s devotion to jazz music earned him many awards, such as Lifetime Achievement Award from the Los Angeles Jazz Society, an induction into the International Jazz Hall of Fame (1997), and the National Endowment for the Arts which recognized him as Jazz Master (2006). The latter is considered as nation’s highest jazz honor.

Aside from being an accomplished bassist, he was also known as the first African-American manager in the jazz field. In the early 1950s, he formed John Levy Enterprises, Inc., a management agency.

He successfully managed the personal and careers of more than 85 popular jazz artists, including Cannonball Adderley, Betty Carter, Randy Crawford, Roberta Flack, Herbie Hancock, Shirley Horn, Freddie Hubbard, Ahmad Jamal, Abbey Lincoln, Ramsey Lewis, Herbie Mann, Les McCann, Wes Montgomery, George Shearing, Dakota Staton, Stanley Turrentine, Joe Williams, and Nancy Wilson.

“I would like to be remembered as someone who helped musicians and singers spread the love of jazz around the world,” Levy said in his autobiography book “Men, Women and Girl Singers” written by his wife.

Levy was survived by his wife, his son Michael Levy and daughters Pamela McRae, Samara Levy, Jole Levy, 14 grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

Instead of funeral service, it was learned that Levy wishes that donations be made to MCG Jazz John Levy Fund which supports Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild’s “Jazz Is Life” educational programs.


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