Friday, June 15, 2007

Tony Levin


@ Wiki
Tony Levin (born June 6, 1946, Boston, Massachusetts) is an influential American bass player. He has played with Peter Gabriel, King Crimson, Yes, Liquid Tension Experiment, Pink Floyd, John Lennon, Dire Straits, Joan Armatrading, Alice Cooper, Seal, David Bowie, Deodato, Pandora's Box, Carly Simon, California Guitar Trio, Sarah McLachlan, Kevin Max, The Roches and Paul Simon, among many others.

Known for his innovative spirit, Tony Levin is partly responsible for popularizing the Chapman Stick and the NS upright bass. He has also created funk fingers, a device for mimicking the sound of hitting the strings with drumsticks (which sounds very similar to slap style bass).

Levin is a widely-respected bass player, probably most famous for the bassline from Peter Gabriel's "Sledgehammer", but many fans point to King Crimson as his best work.

In addition to his work as a sideman and in collaborative projects, he has various solo albums (Waters of Eden, Pieces of the Sun), and a live Tony Levin Band album. In April, 2006 he released Resonator and launched a North American tour of the same name, which also travelled to Italy, Russia and Mexico.

Biography
Tony Levin was born in Boston, Massachusetts and grew up in the suburb of Brookline. He began playing upright bass at 10 years old. In high school, he picked up tuba, soloing with the concert band. He also started a barbershop quartet. He primarily played classical music on the upright, most notably performing at the White House with a youth orchestra for John and Jackie Kennedy.

He then attended the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY and played in the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. Also at the school was Steve Gadd, now a renowned drummer, who introduced Tony to playing a higher level of jazz and rock. He traded in his Ampeg electric upright Baby Bass for an old (at that time) Fender Precision Bass, which was his only instrument for many years.

In 1970, Tony moved to New York City, joined a band called Aha, the Attack of the Green Slime Beast, with Don Preston of The Mothers of Invention. Soon after, he began working as a session musician, and through the 1970's he played bass on many albums.

In the late '70s, wanting to do more live playing, Tony joined Peter Gabriel's band. He had met Peter through producer Bob Ezrin (with whom Tony had recorded Alice Cooper's Welcome to My Nightmare, and Lou Reed's Berlin). Tony has played with Gabriel, both on the road and in the studio, since then. On that first Peter Gabriel album, Tony played some tuba as well as bass, and directed a short barbershop quartet version of a song.

It was in these early years with Gabriel that Tony developed his playing of the Chapman Stick. More recently, the song "Big Time", from Gabriel's So album, inspired the development of funk fingers, which are chopped off drumsticks used to hammer on the bass strings. Levin credits Gabriel with the idea, and Andy Moore, his tech at the time, with actually making them workable.

In 1978, Tony moved to Woodstock, New York, to join the band L'Image, which included his old friend Steve Gadd, as well as Mike Mainieri and Warren Bernhardt. The band broke up after a year, and Tony stayed in Woodstock, where he still lives.

On Peter Gabriel's first album, Tony met Robert Fripp and, in 1980, after having played on Fripp's solo album Exposure, he became a member of the '80s incarnation of King Crimson.

Through the years, Tony has toured with quite a few artists including: Paul Simon (with whom Tony appeared in Simon's 1980 film "One Trick Pony"), Gary Burton, James Taylor, Herbie Mann, Goro Noguchi, Judy Collins, Joe Yamanaka, Carly Simon, Peter Frampton, Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe, Tim Finn, Richie Sambora, and Claudio Baglioni.

In 1984 Tony released Road Photos, a collection of black & white photos taken during his travels with Crimson, Gabriel, Simon and others. Tony's brother, Pete Levin, is a New York keyboardist and writer who is best known for his work with Gil Evans. Back in the 70's, Tony and Pete collaborated with Steve Gadd in the comedy band The Clams. Some of the Clams's material may eventually be released, as previously stated by Levin.

Tony was part of King Crimson up until the breakup of the "Double Trio" line-up of the band which consisted of Tony Levin, Robert Fripp, Adrian Belew, Trey Gunn, Pat Mastelotto and Bill Bruford. Robert Fripp then reformed King Crimson as a quartet, without Levin and Bruford. Levin also took part in two of the post-breakup experimental sub-groups ProjeKct One (1997) and ProjeKct Four (1998).

In 1998, Levin and Bruford formed Bruford Levin Upper Extremities with trumpeter Chris Botti and guitarist David Torn; the group released albums in 1998 and 2000. Levin also continued producing albums with his own band, the Tony Levin Band (see discography).

In 1998, Levin teamed up with Mike Portnoy and John Petrucci, members of Dream Theater, as well as future Dream Theater keyboardist, Jordan Rudess for a project called Liquid Tension Experiment. The combo recorded two albums, Liquid Tension Experiment and Liquid Tension Experiment 2 in 1998 and 1999 respectively. They also played some live shows in New York, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles.

In 2004, Trey Gunn left King Crimson, and Robert Fripp reinstated Levin as the bassist. Although the future of King Crimson, especially as a touring band, is unclear, Tony Levin remains a member of the band.

In 2006, Levin released "[Resonator]" a new album featuring his singing along with long time band mates Jerry Marrotta, Jesse Gress, Larry Fast, and his brother Pete Levin.
Discography
Levin has played on hundreds of records as session musician or guest artist. The following records are those on which he played as fully contributing band member or composer.
Peter Gabriel I (Car) (1977) — Peter Gabriel
Peter Gabriel II (Scratch) (1978) — Peter Gabriel
Exposure (1979) — Robert Fripp
Peter Gabriel III (Melt) (1980) — Peter Gabriel
Discipline (1981) — King Crimson
Security (1982) — Peter Gabriel
Beat (1982) — King Crimson
Spin 1ne 2wo (1993) — Spin 1ne 2wo
Three of a Perfect Pair (1984) — King Crimson
So (1986) — Peter Gabriel
Us (1992) — Peter Gabriel
THRAK (1995) — King Crimson
World Diary (1996) — solo
Black Light Syndrome (1997) — Bozzio Levin Stevens
From the Caves of the Iron Mountain (1997) — Gorn, Levin, Marotta
Liquid Tension Experiment (1998) — Liquid Tension Experiment
Bruford Levin Upper Extremities (1998) — Bruford Levin Upper Extremities
Liquid Tension Experiment 2 (1999) — Liquid Tension Experiment
Waters of Eden (2000) — solo
Situation Dangerous (2000) — Bozzio Levin Stevens
B.L.U.E. Nights (2000) — Bruford Levin Upper Extremities
Up (2002) — Peter Gabriel
Pieces of the Sun (2002) — solo
Double Espresso (2002) — solo
Resonator (2006) — solo =>>>>>>>>>>>

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Jason Ankeny @ Allmusic
Famed for his work with Peter Gabriel and King Crimson, bass virtuoso Tony Levin was born in Boston on June 6, 1946. At age ten, he began studying upright bass, also playing tuba in his high-school marching band and even forming his own barbershop quartet; as a member of a local youth orchestra, Levin additionally performed at the White House for President John F. Kennedy. After attending the Eastman School of Music, he appeared with the Rochester Philharmonic, but over time turned away from classical music to play rock and jazz, relocating to New York City in 1970 to join Aha!, ex-Mothers of Invention keyboardist Don Preston's band.

A busy session career followed, with fluid, expressive work on classic LPs, including Lou Reed's Berlin, Kate & Anna McGarrigle's self-titled debut, and Paul Simon's Still Crazy After All These Years. After collaborating with Peter Gabriel on his eponymous 1977 debut, Levin joined the ex-Genesis frontman's touring unit, during which time he honed his skills on the Chapman Stick, a unique 10-stringed instrument in which the strings are not plucked but tapped, a process allowing the individual to play notes with both hands and create complete multi-part arrangements.

In 1978, Levin settled in Woodstock, NY, serving in the short-lived L'Image; a year later, he played on Robert Fripp's solo effort Exposure, soon thereafter agreeing to join the guitarist in new a incarnation of his groundbreaking progressive unit King Crimson, and remaining a member of the group for over two decades. (His tour experiences subsequently yielded a 1984 book of photographs, Road Photos.) While working on Gabriel's 1986 smash So, Levin developed Funk Fingers, essentially chopped-off drumsticks designed to hammer on the bass strings; he later sold Funk Fingers through his own Papa Bear Records label as well. Sessions with everyone from Robbie Robertson (his 1987 self-titled solo debut) to Laurie Anderson (1989's Strange Angels) to Yes (1991's Union) followed, and in 1996, Levin finally made his solo debut with World Diary. From the Caves of the Iron Mountain, recorded with bamboo flute master Steve Gorn and drummer Jerry Marotta, appeared a year later and in 1998, he formed Bruford Levin Upper Extremities (B.L.U.E.) with longtime King Crimson drummer Bill Bruford, guitarist David Torn, and trumpeter Chris Botti.

Waters of Eden, Levin's Narada label debut, followed in the spring of 2000. Pieces of the Sun was released in 2001 (an expanded edition came out a year later on Pony Canyon), with many of the same tracks also included on his 2002 record, Double Espresso. Prime Cuts, a compilation of his work on sessions led by other artists on the Magna Carta label during the '90s, was issued in 2005. A bona fide new solo effort, Resonator, followed the next year, for the first time featuring Levin as a singer/songwriter as well as a bassist. =>>>>>>>>>>>

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4 comments:

Bros said...

Great

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