John Levy dies at 99

Was pioneering personal manager

John Levy, the first prominent African-American personal manager in the jazz or pop music field, whose clients included Nancy Wilson and Ramsey Lewis, died Friday in his sleep at his home in Altadena, Calif., less than three months before his 100th birthday.

An accomplished bassist, the New Orleans-born Levy performed with such jazz greats as Stuff Smith, Billie Holiday, Erroll Garner and Billy Taylor in the 1940s before joining pianist George Shearing’s original quintet. In the early 1950s, he became Shearing’s full-time manager and later went on to form his own management agency, John Levy Enterprises.

Levy’s client roster over the years included more than 85 artists, including Wilson, Lewis, Nat and Cannonball Adderley, Betty Carter, Roberta Flack, Herbie Hancock, Shirley Horn, Freddie Hubbard, Ahmad Jamal and Abbey Lincoln as well as comedian Arsenio Hall.

In 2006, the National Endowment for the Arts recognized Levy as a Jazz Master, the nation’s highest jazz honor.

He is survived by his wife, Devra Hall Levy.

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Music News from Variety

Loading