Frank R. Hayde, Stan Levey: Jazz Heavyweight (Santa Monica Press)
Taken under Dizzy Gillespie’s wing when he was sixteen, Stan Levey (1926-2005) developed into a bebop drummer the equal of his early hero Max Roach. During the final five decades of his life, Levey left behind his rough east coast beginnings, his professional boxing sideline and a prison sentence. Before he moved to the west coast in the fifties, he kicked the habit, joined Stan Kenton’s band, stayed clean and healthy the rest of his life and became a mainstay of west coast jazz. The book’s insights into the bop dope culture are chilling. Author Hayde tells Levey’s story in a straightforward narrative that incorporates quotes from Levey, his family and many of the musicians he worked with, including Gillespie and Charlie Parker. In the seventies, facing deteriorating prospects in music, without regret Levey switched to professional photography, at which he excelled.