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Al Levitt

Al Levitt

American musician
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro American musician
Countries United States of America
Occupations Jazz musician
Gender male
Birth 11 November 1932 (New York City, New York, U.S.A.)
Death 28 November 1994 (Paris, Île-de-France, France)
Star sign Scorpio
The details

Alan Levitt (November 11, 1932 – November 28, 1994) was an American jazz drummer.

An edit should be made to the children of his wife Stella's children: the order is Michelle, George, Minou, Sean (Levitt), Theresa, Robin, Billy

-Joseph O'Rourke son of George O'Rourke and step grandson of Al levitt

Early life

Levitt was born in New York City. Early in life he showed an interest in music. In high school he used to play hooky with friends and visit Thelonious Monk's apartment around the corner, where they would beg him to play. Monk never did play for them and would play for them only his favorite jazz albums in exchange for pot or change. Levitt studied with Lennie Tristano for many years, along with Lee Konitz. Levitt also studied occasionally with Max Roach.

Later life and career

In the New York jazz scene, Levitt frequented all the popular jazz clubs and sat in with many of the greats, including Charlie Parker. One of his favorite stories was running into Parker on a frigid winter morning with Parker wearing nothing more than a Superman t-shirt and a blazer. Parker borrowed $5 from him and that was the last time Levitt ever saw him. Parker died in 1955.

After moving to the Canary Islands, Spain, in 1973 with Stella his common law wife and her five children, Robby, Billy, Teresa, Sean and Minou, Levitt played there with Canadian bass player Lloyd Thompson, Dutch pianist Nikko Bunik ,and American trumpeter and jazz club owner Don Jeter. Moving then to Madrid, Levitt played with many jazz artists, such as Spanish pianist Pedro Itturalde.

Moving to France in 1975, Levitt again met and played with his friends from the U.S. In Paris he founded his own group with jazz musicians such as Alain Jean Marie. His group consisted of Stella on vocals, Sean on guitar, Alain Jean Marie on piano and Gus Nemeth on bass, among others. During this time Levitt toured and played with Paul Bley, Lee Konitz and Warne Marsh, Jimmy Raney, Dexter Gordon, Harry "Sweets" Edison and Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, J.J. Johnson, Stan Getz, Chet Baker, Jimmy Gourley, Peter Ind, Martial Solal, René Urtreger, Pierre Michelot, Michel Petrucciani, Clark Terry, Dorothy Donegan, Barney Wilen, and others.

Levitt was a contributing writer for Jazz Hot magazine in France. He died in Paris.


Levitt studied piano with Moses Chusids in high school, and studied drums under Irv Kluger in 1949-50.


In the early 1950s Levitt played with

  • Barbara Carroll (1950),
  • Chuck Wayne (1950–51),
  • Charles Mingus (1951),
  • Lennie Tristano (1952),
  • Stan Getz (1953), on Stan Getz and the Cool Sounds (Verve, 1953-55, [1957])
  • Paul Bley (1954–55),
  • Lee Konitz (1954–56).

The Netherlands/Paris

He moved to The Netherlands in 1956, playing there with Pia Beck. Thereafter he played in Paris with

  • Sidney Bechet,
  • Rene Urtreger,
  • Allen Eager,
  • Martial Solal,
  • Guy Lafitte,
  • Stephane Grappelli,
  • Barney Wilen.

United States

After returning to the United States in 1958, he played with

  • Toshiko Akiyoshi (1958),
  • Shirley Horn (1959),
  • Scott LaFaro/Dick Haymes (1959–60),
  • Ronnie Ball/Chris Connor (1960–61),
  • Candido Camero (1962–63),
  • Teddy Edwards: Sunset Eyes (Pacific Jazz, 1960)
  • Donna Lee (Levitt) (1959, 1960 and they were married, birthed Jolie Levitt),
  • Stella Levitt (1964,
  • Georgie Auld (1965–66), Jackie Paris/Ann Marie Moss (1967),
  • Lionel Hampton 1967-68),
  • Chris Connor and David Allyn (1970),
  • Mingus again in 1972.

In 1968 he recorded for ESP-Disk along with his wife Stella, and his stepson Sean

Canary Islands

In 1973 Levitt moved to the Canary Islands. He played with Pedro Itturalde in Spain and led his own group. Moving to Paris again in 1975, he played in Europe with

  • Peter Ind,
  • Martial Solal,
  • Guy Lafitte,
  • René Urtreger,
  • Slide Hampton,
  • Warne Marsh,
  • Lee Konitz,
  • Jimmy Raney,
  • Chet Baker,
  • Alain Jean-Marie (many times from 1978),
  • Kai Winding and Kenny Drew (1979),
  • Sonny Stitt (1981),
  • James Moody (1981),
  • Horace Parlan (1984, 1986–87),
  • Steve Grossman (1985),
  • Benny Carter (1985),
  • Kenny Drew and Teddy Edwards (1986–87),
  • Duke Jordan (early 1990s).
  • Babs Gonzales
  • Dorothy Donegan
  • Zoot Sims
  • Harry "Sweets" Edison
  • Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis

Group leader

Levitts - We Are The Levitts - ESP-Disk 1095 (1969)

He also co-led a group with Nathalie Loriers.


With Lee Konitz and Warne Marsh

  • Lee Konitz Meets Warne Marsh Again (Pausa, 1976)
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